By Brittany Thompson
At Viterbo University there are 304 student-athletes participating as of the 2013 official fall census day. The number of total student-athletes has increased each of the past seven years and Viterbo has added 10 varsity sports and two junior varsity (JV) programs since 2007-08.
The jump to 304 athletes is a 240 percent increase in student athletes at Viterbo. With the implementation of new sports and the influx of new athletes, more and more people might wonder, just what does it mean to be a student athlete at Viterbo?
Part of being a Viterbo student athlete is committing to giving back to the community. In the 2011-2012 school year, athletes dedicated over 3,000 hours to community service. Each team is responsible for two community service projects but some plan as many as four according to the 2011-2012 athletics department annual report.
Another aspect of being an athlete at Viterbo is fundraising. A goal of $250,000 was set for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. With each sports team contributing through raffle sales, hosting camps and donation requests, the goal was surpassed and $309,364 was raised.
How is it that balance can be found between athletics and academics when so much time is needed to be successful in both?
“For me it started with understanding that getting the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level would come at a price. Time management is the biggest tool to help balance this,” said Jasper Duberry, senior studio art major from Brooklyn Park, Minn. and member of the men’s basketball team,.
“I never take for granted knowing that it is a privilege to do what I am doing as a student athlete,” Duberry told Lumen. “Understand that balance means push and pull and give and take. That means to get to do one thing, you might have to sacrifice in another area.”
“It is important that you are using your time wisely and studying when you should be instead of connecting on social media,” said Erica Willadsen, senior sports science and leadership major from Cochrane, Wis. and member of the women’s volleyball team. “When tests are coming up, that must come first.
“Being a Viterbo athlete has been overwhelming at times but has really shown me how great of a school Viterbo is as a whole,” Willadsen told Lumen. “It has led me to some great lifelong friends.”
“We have had some incredible athletes who put in a lot of time and effort, not only in the classroom but in workouts, practice and games around the clock,” said Barry Fried, athletics director at Viterbo since 1999.
“I have to be honest, they are pretty inspiring to me, especially when I see all the effort these students put in,” Fried told Lumen.
“We want students to walk across the stage with a diploma in one hand and a great athletics experience.” Fried said. “When you combine those two things in the real world, you have learned perseverance, determination, discipline, and hard work and yet you have a degree from a really reputable school. We think that is a recipe for success. We really believe that.”