These services impact our students in a big way. Having been a student-athlete himself, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Success Marcus Sedberry remembers how his coaches and mentors made all the difference with their support and encouragement.
“As I reflected back on my experience, I remembered there being somebody.... That I could go to and talk with about my career aspirations and my struggles in life, or being away from home,” Sedberry recalls. This is what inspired him to pursue a career in student-athlete development. Now here at Baylor, Sedberry leads an excellent staff who is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our student-athletes.
At the heart of preparing student-athletes for life after sport is one of Baylor University’s core commitments: “Spiritual growth should be embedded in everything we do,” says Sedberry. Not only does the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence offer programming like mission trips and Bible studies, Sedberry is focused on providing opportunities for spiritual development in every aspect of the Center’s offerings. Leadership development, academic and athletic excellence, and career planning, he says, should all involve elements that inspire Baylor’s student-athletes to grow deeper in their faith.
Though Baylor student-athletes come from different backgrounds, possess an array of athletic talents and pursue a variety of career paths, one thing they have in common is a heart for service. These athletes know that they are representing Baylor University and their Christian faith in all that they do, which is why they are eager to give back to their Waco community and their world in so many ways.
Baylor student-athletes are widely known for their excellence on the field and in the classroom, but their work in our community is just as important. This semester alone, Baylor Bears have been active all over Waco – serving breakfast, reading to elementary school classrooms, helping middle school students with math, discussing social justice with administrators and even hosting an Easter egg hunt. Many Baylor athletic teams, including football, men’s tennis, acrobatics and tumbling, equestrian and track and field have a strong presence in the local elementary schools, where they serve meals, read to students, help with homework and host programs such as Bear Fit Initiatives, which encourage students to stay active for their health and wellness. Countless young students in our area have had the opportunity to build relationships with many of these athletes, who serve as strong role models.
In January, the softball team went on a week-long mission trip to Ghana, where they worked with Ghana FCA staff to put on a softball camp, conduct a coaches’ clinic, deliver necessary supplies, such as clothes, shoes, car parts, softball gear, and much more, and build relationships with Ghanan people. Though they returned with empty supply bags, their hearts were full from seeing God at work. Many of the team members who went on the trip expressed a deeper joy and gratitude that they experienced in the people of Ghana. In a trip blog, freshman outfielder Alyssa Avalos writes, “Before coming to Ghana, I thought that I would be the one teaching the kids about God and his love, but really, they were the ones teaching me. Throughout this trip, I have experienced so much love from the Ghanaians. I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to visit Ghana and share what I am most passionate about – softball and God.”
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SA AC) serves as the voice for the student-athletes and provides an opportunity for all student-athletes to get involved in campus life and the local community. They encourage and provide opportunities for community involvement, promoting a positive student-athlete image, and strive to enhance the student-athlete experience at Baylor University. SA AC participates in annual community events such as the Food for Families Can Food Drive, Santa's Workshop, and Special Olympics. They also sponsor several events like Study Break Game Night, Athletes Supporting Athletes, and our Student-Athlete Banquet for National Student-Athlete Day. Through these events, SA AC strives to both unite student-athletes and spread service to the community.
Recently, the members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee sat down with leaders and administrators to discuss social justice and the role that student-athletes have in our community and our world.
For more information about the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence, visitbaylorbears.com/academics/sas-responsibilities.