Student Athletes as Leaders of Social Change

The Student Athletes Leading Social Change group creates opportunities to work for social justice and community building.

March 01, 2023

Tim Schmitt

A commitment to social responsibility and the common good is built into the DNA of Grinnell. Students here are known for their passion and dedication to putting shared ideals and values into action to make a difference in the community and beyond.

However, with classes, research, internships, work, and study, it can be challenging to find time for this work. And for student-athletes, who have practice, training, competition, and more to consider as well, it can be even more challenging.

But when something is important, Grinnellians find a way.

Student Athletes Leading Social Change (SALSC) was created to ensure that student-athletes and others could remain involved in social issues on campus and in the community.

“We schedule our meetings for later in the day or evening to allow athletes with time commitments to help lead social change, says Co-President Lexi Mueldener ’23, a senior anthropology and Spanish double major from Arvada, Colorado, and a member of the women’s golf team. “We want to make sure everyone has the chance to bring issues they are passionate about to the organization.”

Among its recent events, SALSC has hosted a Sexual Assault Awareness Walk and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise awareness for local charities. These events have been well received by the campus community and have been effective at raising awareness, but they have also served to bolster the resolve of student organizers.

Student Athletes Leading Social Change
Student Athletes Leading Social Change

“I’ve always had a passion for helping and I loved the idea of using our platform as athletes to spread awareness and spur social change, and SALSC allows me to do so,” says Mueldener. “Participating in the group has strengthened my belief that whatever I end up doing in life, I want to be helping people in some capacity.”

SALSC’s work throughout the year to create and host events on campus helps to create a community of like-minded people who share similar views, ideals, and passions. And despite the organization’s name, SALSC is open to all interested students, not just student-athletes.

“While our meetings accommodate athletes’ schedules so that they can partake in extracurricular activities outside of their sports, we tackle both campus and community-wide issues in our events and work,” says Co-President Dean Mazlish ’23, a senior computer science and economics major from Chevy Chase, Maryland, and a member of the men’s basketball team. “The inclusion of athletes in these activities allows us to discuss our unique perspectives, challenges, and privileges and turn those discussions into real opportunities to enact social change on a scope beyond that of the student-athlete.”

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