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Club Sports: The Student Leader Behind the Athlete

December 11, 2018

Club Sports Resident Assistants: The Student Leader Behind the Athlete

Club Sports Athletes Show Leadership on Campus Beyond Playing Surface

By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff

There is more to every athlete than what you see on the field or court.

Being a Grand Canyon University Club Sports athlete means committing to more than just the sport they play. In fact, many club athletes take on student leadership roles outside the field-including serving in the on-campus residence halls.

As Residence Assistants (RA), GCU Club Sports athletes Kasey Tucker, Raegan Seifert and Riley Koch all share the same belief:  being an RA shapes who they are as a person and as an athlete. Each are a vital part of the student experience on campus, and each hold true to GCU Club Sports’ mission of developing good Christian role models who embody the highest of standards in all aspects of their lives.

The Person Behind the Desk

In each residence hall or apartment building, these RAs serve anywhere from 30-70 students in their living area. However, it is more than a job or scholarship, but an opportunity to lead.

Kasey Tucker, a senior on the GCU Club Baseball team, is also a second-year RA in Acacia Hall for freshman housing.

“It is a great experience to impact other people, and be that instrument for their future in college,” said Tucker. “It can be tough at times. You do have to do a lot and there are a lot of responsibilities, but overall as an RA, you are able to really impact and help other people, which is awesome.”

Raegan Seifert, a junior who plays for GCU Club Volleyball who is a second-year RA in Acacia Hall, says that being an RA also pours into being an athlete.

“It definitely shapes the way that I view others and how I play on the court,” says Seifert. “When I’m on the court, I know that people look at me differently knowing that I am an upperclassman RA. They kind of look up to me because of that. It’s an opportunity to love on them well, be positive on the court, and show them I’m a human, too, and we have lives outside of just being an RA. I feel that I can relate to them better because I’m also seen as an athlete.”

GCU Club Lacrosse player and sophomore Riley Koch is a first-year RA in Ocotillo Hall for freshman housing, and tries to avoid the negative focus that sometimes comes with the position.

“(With) most people, when they think about the RA, they think of the people that gets others in trouble,” said Koch. “That’s not the focus of the job, and that’s something we don’t want to do as RAs. We want to get connected with people, and help them out through their year.”

It’s a Balancing Act

While it can get busy being a full-time student and athlete, all three have found ways to manage it.

“Organization is the first thing that comes to mind,” said Tucker. “It is tough to manage school, being an RA, and playing baseball.  Making sure that I have time to get to class, study, make my baseball practice and games, fulfill my RA responsibilities, and hanging out with residents is something you have to plan and make time for.”

“It’s been crazy with classes, but it’s good and definitely manageable,” said Seifert. “I know I’m not able to make a ton of club volleyball things because I also have RA obligations, but the coaches are all very gracious, and know I have other things as well.”

Finding your Place on any ‘Team

GCU provides an opportunity for students to continue their passion of being an athlete while also getting involved on campus. For Tucker, Seifert and Koch, being a part of both Club Sports and Residence Life has redefined their identities.

“Coming from high school baseball, I knew that I didn’t have the talent to play Division I baseball, but it was still something that I didn’t want to let go of,” said Tucker. “I know it’s not something that I can do forever, but I wanted to do what I loved and continue to play ball.”

“I played all through high school, and played travel for five years,” said Seifert. “Coming to college, I knew that I had to leave volleyball behind because that was too much of my identity and defined who I was. I first had to find my identity in Christ outside of volleyball and being an RA my sophomore year, I found that. Now, I am able to apply all the things I learned being an RA to my position on the team.”

They’ve all discovered that leaving an impact can happen anywhere.

“Lacrosse became a huge part of my life, and GCU was the place I wanted to come for it,” said Koch. “As an athlete, I was just focused on the sport.  As an RA, I’ve found out that some of the freshmen ended up being my residents and trying out for the team. The fact that I was an RA influenced them to become an RA also.”

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