Of Councils and Community: Where Student-Athletes UniteOctober 23, 2020
The Golden Hawk Council (GHC) at Laurier unities student-athletes to give back to the communities of the Waterloo Region. The council prioritizes community engagement, mentorship, and education. At the head of the council for the 2020-2021 academic year, co-presidents Kai Harris (Toronto, Ont.), of men’s baseball, and Stephanie Findlay (Oakville, Ont.), of women’s basketball, know the importance of community involvement now more than ever.
“The Golden Hawk Council is an outreach-focused club run by student-athletes looking to give back to a community,” says Harris, a fourth-year political science major who was inspired to join the council in second year for a volunteer opportunity. “Golden Hawk Council offers student-athletes opportunities to help their personal development, strengthen leadership skills, and gain volunteer experience. After [first] helping out, I knew the Golden Hawk Council was right for me. Honestly, I didn't initially intend to become co-president, but I was more than willing to take on the role and thankful for the opportunity.”
For Findlay, a fifth-year french major, joining the council was a matter of searching for a similar experience. As a transfer from Brock University, she had previously volunteered with the university’s version of the Golden Hawk Council. “We take pride as varsity athletes in giving back to our community and finding ways to be involved outside of our sport,” she says. “As an undergraduate student aspiring to be a teacher, I thought this would be a great way to get some leadership experience and also something to take pride in outside of being a varsity athlete.” After an enjoyable experience on the council last year, she explains she “wanted to become co-president this year [after] learning a lot from last year's president, Jenna Lazarou [of women’s soccer].”
The current circumstances regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the council to transition to a predominantly virtual environment. “We aim to organize virtual-based events over Zoom [and partner] with local organizations to make that happen,” Harris says of the council’s plans this academic year.
With proper government guidelines and social distancing in place, the council was able to host a successful food drive recently. “We had a [contactless] Thanksgiving Food Drive a few weeks ago, and thanks to the Laurier community that donated canned goods, we were able to donate enough food for 80 meals to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region,” Findlay reveals. “We are currently working on an opportunity to get involved virtually with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program in Waterloo. The group is working toward this and… finding creative ways to stay connected and involved in our community in a virtual environment.”
Whether virtual or in-person, the community within and outside of the Golden Hawk Council is valued by both presidents. “As varsity athletes, we are very fortunate and it is nice to be able to use our leadership throughout our community, especially with the children in the region of Waterloo that look up to us,” Findlay explains.
Harris affirms that “…it’s just enjoyable to be in a position to help others in the multiple ways Golden Hawk Council does. As the program's mission statement outlines, it shouldn't be an ideal to help out but a responsibility.”
Programs that serve children in Waterloo Region are of particular interest for Harris. His favourite event that the council participates in, and the very first event he volunteered for, is the Running and Reading program. “There's definitely a personal sentiment as to why I enjoy Running and Reading so much,” he agrees. “When I was young, I always remember looking up to the older kids and thought it was really cool when older athletes took the time to mentor younger kids and [help] out.” The after-school program combines academics and athletics where student-athletes mentor, read with and participate in physical activity with the local kids of Cedarbrae Public School in Waterloo.
Meanwhile, Findlay’s favourite program exercises not the bodies but the stomachs of student-athletes. The Smoothie Challenge in support of Movember, where all proceeds are donated, always draws a large turnout. “…We all [have] a great time and [are] able to raise a lot of money to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer, men's suicide [and more],” she explains. “I had to drink one of the smoothies last year.” That smoothie can include any number of unique ingredients, including sardines and cat food, and money is raised through the choice of what ingredients are blended.
Even more smoothly than the Movember Smoothie Challenge, the Golden Hawk Council blends student-athletes into their community. As co-presidents, Harris and Findlay understand better than anyone the benefits of involvement in the council and encourage other student-athletes to take part.
“The club is also an excellent way for first-year students to meet new people and get a solid look at what it means to be a student-athlete at Laurier. There's a lot of different ways to give your time. With the various programs the club offers, there's definitely something for everyone to enjoy and gain something of value from it,” Harris says.
“I would recommend all varsity athletes at Laurier to volunteer with the Golden Hawk Council,” Findlay agrees. “You do not need to be a member of the council in order to volunteer at our events. It's a really good way to meet other athletes from different teams, give back to your community and to volunteer in many rewarding events for good causes.”
Athletic Complex pool reopensOctober 16, 2020
WATERLOO, Ont. (October 16, 2020) – The Department of Athletics and Recreation are pleased to announce the reopening of the Athletic Complex Pool.
The pool will open for lane swim only beginning on Monday, October 19. Lane swim reservations will restricted to one person per lane and will be available for one hour from Monday to Friday in the following time slots. Swimmers are asked to reserve their lane in either the shallow end or the deep end of the pool, there will be no long course lane swims offered at this time.
8 - 9 AM
8 - 9 AM
8 - 9 AM
8 - 9 AM
8 - 9 AM
12 - 1 PM
12 - 1 PM
12 - 1 PM
12 - 1 PM
2- 3 PM
2 - 3 PM
2 - 3 PM
2 - 3 PM
8 - 9 PM
8 - 9 PM
Lane swim reservations are only available to current Wilfrid Laurier students or existing Laurier Athletics and Recreation members. We are not offering new memberships at this time. If you were a member in the Winter 2020 semester and you would like your membership to be reactivated please email email@example.com.
To reserve you lane swim visit the shop page at laurierathletics.com.
To access the pool swimmers are to enter the Athletic Complex through the main doors and head down the far set of stairs. Once at the lower level turn left toward the pool. Once on the pool deck swimmers will be directed to the change room from the pool deck access doors. Swimmers are permitted to change and rinse prior to their swim time.
Swimmers are not to leave any belongings in the locker rooms. There will be chairs on deck at the end of each lane were swimmers are to place their belongings while they are in the pool. Once their reservation time has ended they will be permitted back into the locker room to rinse and change. Locker rooms are subject to reduced capacity and showers should only be utilized for pre/post swim rinses.
There will be no personal training aids available at the Athletic Complex, swimmers are permitted to bring their own personal aids to their lane swim (flutter boards, pull buoys).
All participants are reminded they must have a valid OneCard and a green badge on the attestation questionnaire on the Safe Hawk App to access the building. Masks are required when entering and moving throughout the AC.
Reservations are restricted to one reservation per activity space per day and three total upcoming reservations per activity space per user. Meaning you cannot make another reservation if you have three upcoming reservations on your account.
To make an account or reservation click here.
For more details and Frequently Asked Questions click here.
Fall 2020 Thrive Week moves onlineOctober 15, 2020
WHAT IS THRIVE WEEK?
Thrive Week is a campus-wide initiative at Wilfrid Laurier University focusing on positive mental health and wellbeing for all. There are free events and workshops taking place online through a variety of departments. New this fall in addition to all events will be held virtually, Thrive Week will take place over two weeks to allow more students to attend more events so they can build positive mental health at home.
All events are FREE and all students from any campus are welcome to attend these events. 2020 Fall Thrive Week will run October 19 to 23 and October 26 to 30.
The Department of Athletics and Recreation will be offering virtual Group Ex classes in a variety of styles so students can find the kind of class they like best and to showcase the positive impact of physical activity on mental health. Plus to help get your health and wellness journey on track register for the NEW personal training workshop: Planning for a Healthier You, details can be found below.
WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE?
Stefanie Kubacki, Coordinator of Intramurals and Instructional Programs, is one of the key organizers of Thrive Week within Recreation. She knows how hard the fall semester has been on students and wants them to know Athletics and Recreation is there for them, "It is now more important than ever to find ways to stay connected with the Laurier campus community. Thrive Week offers an excellent platform for students to familiarize themselves with resources that help to promote positive mental health and well-being in this virtual world."
All Group Ex class participants will be invited to enter a daily draw to win an Athletics and Recreation Thrive Week prize pack! All entries will also go towards the grand prize draw that will take place at the end of the second week. Daily prize packs include a Thrive pillow case, Zeus Supplements shaker bottle and samples, and a Zeus x Golden Hawk t-shirt. There will be one prize pack draw per day over the two weeks for a total of 10 prize packs. The single grand prize will include previously listed items as well as a Zeus Supplements prize pack valued at $100 as well as a hoodie and hat from Lululemon.
All events are held virtually. You can join with the Zoom ID: 459-822-1013 or by clicking here.
Monday, October 19 & 26
- Full Body class @ 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 20 & 27
- Barre class @ 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 21 & 28
- Slow Flow Yoga @ 4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
- Session 1 & 2 of Personal Training Workshop @ 8:30 p.m.
- Must preregister here
- A four-part webinar series outlining healthy and sustainable weight management methods hosted by Laurier Athletics and Recreation's certified Personal Trainers. Topics include goal setting, nutrition tips, exercise selection/program planning and sustaining progress!
Thursday, October 22 & 29
- Bootylicious class – 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Friday, October 23 & 30
- Cardio + Core class @ 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
No registration is necessary for Group Ex classes, just log into your own Zoom account, enter the ID and work out! Registration is required for the personal training workshop. Check out the full list of events being hosted by campus partners here.
Share your experience on social media, and tag @WLURecreation, and tell us how you live your best life at Laurier!
MFOOT LB Tommy Bringi fueled by family, faith and teammatesOctober 16, 2020
“My favourite game to play each year is against Western… the chance to beat the hometown team is a great feeling.”
For London, Ont., native Tommy Bringi, football, family, and faith are wrapped together with a little old-fashioned fun and rivalry. Football was always a family affair for the Golden Hawks linebacker.
“I first fell in love with the game when I was about seven. I saw my older brother win an OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) championship, which made me want to follow in his footsteps. I started playing football when I was nine years old,” the former London Minor Football player recalls, who was introduced to the club by mentor Maurice Brennan.
With two seasons of varsity football under his belt, Bringi has been an impact player for Laurier and was recognized by the OUA as a First Team All-Star in 2019. “When I originally came to Laurier, I made a promise to myself that I would achieve this bout in my second year of play,” he explains.
His gratitude and confidence in his abilities stems from his strong faith. “I know God has given me talent, and I feel it would be unjust for me not to try and see its limits.”
This talent extends beyond the football field and into the classroom, as well. Now a fourth-year psychology major, Bringi is very aware of the privilege of his position. “Not everyone gets a chance to experience university,” he says. In his family, he is the first male to attend postsecondary school. “I feel it is my duty to help soak in as much knowledge as I can and use it to the best of my ability. Being able to hold my degree at convocation is a moment that I will forever cherish.”
His awareness of privilege also applies to sport as Bringi is a member of the OUA Black, Biracial, and Indigenous Task Force. “Being a member of the OUA BBI Task Force, it is our goal to create positive change across the OUA by increasing diversity and representation, as well as making policy changes to break systemic barriers.” He felt called to join the Task Force as the Golden Hawks football team is the most culturally diverse team in the OUA. “I felt is was important for me to be a part of something that will directly impact athletes and coaches.”
“As we all know, groups within society are treated differently based solely on their appearance and culture. This treatment is not excluded within sport. In order to have a functioning team, all members must feel [comfortable] with their teammates and coaches, but this is not always the case. Diversity and inclusion in sport is highly important.”
“The team culture is amazing,” Bringi says of his Golden Hawks family. “All of the guys have respect for one another which makes the locker room an enjoyable place to be. Its always high energy when we’re together.” With such a tight-knit team, his favourite memories take place off the field. These memories include “dinners we had together, nights out, and times in the locker room.”
Bringi’s drive on the field and in the classroom is fueled by his family, faith, teammates, and his favourite pastime: trivia and card games. “If anyone is up for a game of Taboo, or President, I’m there,” he says.
With a bright future on the horizon both athletically and academically, Bringi is only getting started and making sure to have fun along the way: “There is still much more for me to accomplish, [including] not only reaching All-Canadian status, but also being able to help carry my team to a championship.”
OUA announces cancellation of Winter term sportOctober 15, 2020
BURLINGTON, Ont. (October 15, 2020) - Ontario University Athletics (OUA), under the direction of its Board of Directors, announced today the cancellation of all OUA-sanctioned sport programming and championships through March 31st, 2021.
Click here for a list of FAQ’s related to the decision to cancel the Winter term.
In line with the previous decision regarding Fall term sport, this decision was based on provincial public health guidelines and with the health and well-being of all OUA participants at the forefront.
“The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans remains OUA’s number one priority,” said Dr. Deborah MacLatchy, chair of the OUA Board of Directors and Laurier’s president and vice-chancellor. “After significant consultation with our members and advisors, we have determined that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to March 31st.”
Given recent increases in cases across the province, it has become clear that OUA-sanctioned Return to Competition would not be safe for the second term.
“While we would love nothing more than to see our student-athletes back on the field of play and participating in OUA-sanctioned competition during the second term, we are not yet at a place where that can occur safely,” stated Gord Grace, OUA president and CEO. “As disappointing as that reality is, I am confident that our participants will continue to demonstrate their resolve and determination through these exceptional circumstances and as we work toward an eventual safe return to competition.”
The OUA Board of Directors will continue to monitor the status of COVID-19 across the province and reserves the right to adjust these decisions on an on-going basis.
“We recognize how disappointing this is to many, especially our student-athletes, but these are unprecedented times. We are committed to delivering OUA Sport once it is safe to do so,” MacLatchy added.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has now eliminated the entire 2020-21 university sport season, Laurier’s department of athletics and recreation remains committed to ensuring the best possible student-athlete experience under the current situation.
"Given the current pandemic circumstances and knowledge gathered from sport science and medical professionals, the decision the OUA has made is the right one to ensure the health and safety of all,” stated Peter Baxter, Laurier’s director of athletics and recreation. "Although disappointing to all Laurier student-athletes, coaches and staff, the entire department will continue to provide academic support, sport training, and team community activities to get us through these challenging times together.”
“We will continue to provide support and resources for our student-athletes through our Student-Athlete Development Program, while continually monitoring the ongoing health considerations and the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, athletic therapists and staff,” added Ryan Lannan, Laurier’s associate director of interuniversity sport programs. “We look forward to resuming sport when it is safe to do so but are continuously encouraged by the resiliency of our student-athletes and their commitment to our three core pillars for student-athlete development.”
In addition, Laurier athletics and recreation will continue to provide in-person training opportunities to those varsity teams that have been cleared to train on campus as part of the department’s phased reopening of its facilities. As well, beginning in January, as directed by the OUA, the department will explore the possibility of exhibition games, in consultation with Laurier and Region of Waterloo Public Health.
At the national level, U SPORTS has confirmed the cancellation of all national championships for the second term. For more information on how these decisions impact Athletic Financial Awards, Transfer Rules, and Eligibility for the 2020-21 season, please visit the U SPORTS COVID-19 Information Webpage.
For Wilfrid Laurier University-related media inquiries:
- with files from Ontario University Athletics