Bridging The Gap

Student-band Max Capacity plays at a Katmandu hosted by music house on Friday, October 20. Photo taken by McKenna Dolan.

  “Athletes and non-athletes seek unity at Earlham”

Earlham College is renowned for its diverse and inclusive student body, welcoming students from around the world. While this diversity is a hallmark of the college, there remains a striking divide between athletes and non-athletes. However, a recent exploration into this issue reveals a new perspective, shedding light on the challenge of support, not only for athletes but for all students on campus.

Upon conducting interviews with various individuals across campus, it becomes evident that athletes frequently feel a lack of support from their non-athlete peers during games. Even fellow athletes find it challenging to extend support, as their busy schedules often clash with game times, leaving minimal room for inter-team solidarity. The underlying reason for this divide appears to be a sense of intimidation that non-athletes may feel when around athletes, especially when athletes are in their big groups, despite the fact that many Earlham athletes defy the stereotypical norms perpetuated by the media. Nonetheless, the distance is maintained as a precaution.

While it is crucial to acknowledge this division, it is equally important to seek a solution that not only satisfies athletes’ desire for support but also addresses students’ expectations from athletes. Maxine Fox, a student at Earlham, offers a unique perspective. She emphasizes that Earlham distinguishes itself from other institutions, as it is the players who shape the teams, not the other way around. Maxine aptly conveys how support at Earlham is earned. If athletes want the broader student body to rally behind their teams, they should reciprocate by supporting fellow students as individuals. This support can take various forms, from attending plays and concerts to merely expressing solidarity and empathy.

The heart of the matter revolves around fairness and support within the tight-knit Earlham community. Every member of the campus, athlete or not, yearns for equitable treatment and the support of their peers.

Creating a more supportive atmosphere is a shared responsibility. Athletes bring their passion and dedication to their respective sports, setting high standards for themselves and their teams. However, it is vital for them to remember that such commitment should extend beyond the sports field. Students, as part of this supportive community, have a role to play as well. The path to unity and support requires understanding, empathy, and most importantly, dialogue. 

To bridge the gap and encourage mutual support, students from all walks of life must recognize the value of each other’s contributions. Athletes should be more than players on the field; they should be friends, allies, and supporters of the broader student community. Non-athletes, in turn, should embrace the vibrant athletic culture at Earlham, attending games and events when possible, and acknowledging the athletes’ dedication. The change begins with open conversations, listening to each other’s perspectives, and finding common ground. Together, the Earlham community can build a more inclusive, supportive environment where everyone feels appreciated and valued, regardless of their involvement in athletics. As the campus moves forward, it is imperative to remember that unity is not an exclusive concept – it is a shared journey. Earlham College thrives on its diversity and inclusivity, and by embracing this diversity, students can create an environment where everyone stands together, not apart. In the end, we are all Quakers, and we are all in this together.

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