Lewis & Clark is a school that prides itself on its community. Few would guess that one of LC’s greatest divides in the student body begins with the titles “athlete” and “non-varsity athlete”. There is a social divide between the student body depending on whether or not they are involved with athletics.
Claire Megna ’19, a student athlete on the women’s swimming team, said that the socialization between athletes and non-varsity athletes depends on the environment.
“There definitely is a separation,” Megna said. “When you’re in the Bon, I definitely think that since the teams interact with each other more than they do with the other student populations, they tend to stick together. Which doesn’t allow for other people to interact with the athletes as much.” Since athletes do spend a majority of their time outside the classroom together, Megna thinks they may be more inclined to spend time with the people they create those close connections with.
Iri Angelova ’20, a non-varsity athlete, but a player on the intramural soccer team, agreed with Megna.
“I don’t think I interact with many athletes because they spend more time practicing and hanging out,” Angelova said. Angelova thinks that athletes are more likely to spend their free time with the friends they make during practices and on the road.
Angelova appreciates events like the intramural games as they bring together non-athletes and athletes into a relaxed setting that still involves sports.
“In my team there are club soccer people and they play with non-athletes,” Angelova said.
“The intramural (sports) would be nice, but also you never know how many people are actually going to show up,” Megna said. Megna brought up another point regarding LC’s social culture: few non-varsity athletic students show up to LC athletic events.
Tyler Lebovic ’18, a current non-varsity athlete who participated in LC’s men’s rowing team for his first three years, believes the issue lies in a lack of awareness.
“Let people know when athletic events happen,” Lebovic said. “I can’t tell you how many times I only know about these games because I know people in the athletic department … I had no idea this stuff was going on … I overall don’t think that people are spreading the word around.”
Non-varsity athletes are less likely than athletes to attend games due to the lack of information. One of the best ways to get varsity athletes and non-varsity athletes together is through sporting events.
Megna also suggested that more socialization between athletes and non-varsity athletes can be had outside of LC athletic events and team practices.
“There could be events for people who are interested in football or interested in swimming,” Megna said. “There could be those types of places where people can meet up and watch rather than doing something else sport-like.” Megna suggests that more connections between athletes and non-varsity athletes can be made through activities like watching sports together.
Lebovic agreed that one of the best ways to get both groups together is through attending athletic events.
“I remember in high school there would be signs all down the street and the whole community would know about this stuff,” Lebovic said. “I think the best activities to get non-athletes and athletes together are the sporting events and I think that not enough students know about it.”
Lebovic suggests that through greater coverage of sporting events, the LC student body and the community surrounding LC are more likely to take part in attending events.
“I think if there’s more of an effort to make public that there’s an opening game for whatever team, a lot more people would show up.”
Through more advertisement of sporting events and more activities that involve enjoying sports but not necessarily playing them, the social divide between athletes and non-athletes could potentially be narrowed.