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Blog Archives

Oregon State Student Athletes Represent Best of Green-Sports with BAST Program

By GreenSportsBlog

Sam Lewis (l), Jesikah Cavanaugh (front) and the BAST team managed the “Return Pom Pom” effort at select Oregon State home football games in 2016. (Photo credit: OSU Campus Recycling)

Sam Lewis (l), Jesikah Cavanaugh (front) and the BAST team managed the “Return Pom Pom” effort at select Oregon State home football games in 2016. (Photo credit: OSU Campus Recycling)

Cadres of green-minded students and the growing popularity of sustainability as an academic discipline are just two reasons why there is a growing intersection of Green & Sports on campuses across the country. But while athletics and sustainability departments have driven the green-sports bus, student-athletes have taken a back seat to this point. At least, that is, until Oregon State University’s Samantha (“Sam”) Lewis, a cross-country/track runner, and Jesikah Cavanaugh, a swimmer, decided they, along with three other student-athletes wanted to accelerate the greening of OSU sports. GreenSportsBlog talked recently with Sam and Jesikah to get their takes on how they came to take on leading roles in the birth of the Beaver Athlete Sustainability Team (BAST), what it has accomplished so far and where they think it will go from here.

If you wanted to draw up two characters to be green-sports student athlete pioneers, you would have conjured Sam Lewis and Jesikah Cavanaugh. They helped create the Beaver Athlete Sustainability Team or BAST at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Both are life-long environmentalists.

Sam, a runner who grew up in Boulder, CO, told GreenSportsBlog that “sustainability was embedded in my life from an early age. We composted, recycled, rode bikes and snowshoed.” Oregon State was a natural choice due to her “love of the outdoors and of running in the rain.” I get her first love but running in the rain? Not so much.

Jesikah’s lifelong appreciation of the environment was nurtured in Anchorage, AK, where, she reports, “everything is clean.” A swimmer by the age of four, Jess says she was inspired by her older, faster sister Meghan. Recruited by Division III schools in Colorado and Pittsburgh, PA, Jesikah applied to OSU almost as an afterthought: “My dad went to Oregon State and I didn’t want to go there. But I was interested in environmental engineering and I liked that their program was tied to chemical engineering rather than civil, as was the case at most schools. I ultimately want to work on water remediation—cleaning and restoration—so that link with chemical engineering was a key reason I ended up in Corvallis.”

Both overcame serious obstacles in their sports.

Sam, who ran the 6K in cross-country, “suffered lots of injuries,” including a stress fracture in her back during her sophomore year. “It was so frustrating. I was recruited to be a Division I runner at a Pac-12 school and I couldn’t even walk my dog,” shared Sam, “It took a couple of years to be able to compete again, but the work it took to come back was so worth it—it was the best feeling ever.” And the women’s cross-country and track team has faced its own challenges. “The sport was dropped at Oregon State in 1988, rebooted in 2004, so we have been playing catch up against some of the best teams in the country,” explained Sam. But, reflecting her grit, the cross-country squad was able to finish a respectable 12th in the powerful, 35-team West region last year, an improvement of seven places from 2015.

Jes was not offered a swimming scholarship. No problem. She walked on to the Oregon State swim team as a freshman, swimming the 100- and 200-meter butterfly. Her consistent performances (“I never missed a meet!”) earned her a scholarship by her junior year.

With passion for the environment and grit, all that was needed for Sam and Jes to enter the green-sports fray was a cause.

Read the full interview and story here.

The Battle for Girls’ Sports

Good Sports
by Anya Alvarez

2017.06.23-NewsFeed-Title 9-IMAGE

On June 23, 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into place 37 words that would inevitably change the future of girls in sports:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

This legislation effectively opened the door for girls to have equal access to sports in their schools. In 1971, only 310,000 girls and women in the U.S. participated in high and college sports, compared with the 3.5 million girls and women who play sports today.

Despite Title IX’s success, there are still fewer girls playing sports compared with boys. By the time girls turn 14 years old, they are twice as likely to drop out of playing sports for a variety of reasons, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. Lack of access plays a significant part. WSF, founded by tennis legend Billie Jean King in 1974, estimates that girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys have.

To help fight that gap, several sports organizations over the years have been founded to help engage girls in athletics who otherwise would have never played or who would have quit playing.

Dr. Kimberly Clay, founder of Play Like a Girl, grew up after Title IX was enacted. Regardless, sports were not an option for her to play in her small town of rural Mississippi.

Early in my life, I struggled with my weight. I was physically active in the sense of normal childhood activities like climbing trees and running around outside but didn’t have equal opportunity compared to my brothers to participate in sports,” Clay recalled.

Being a high achiever in other areas, I never really processed that I didn’t play sports in high school or middle school.”

Read the full story here.

 

7 Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs from Julia Landauer, NASCAR

Entrepreneur
By Kelsey Humphreys

Julia Landauer knew she wanted to pursue racing as a career by the time she was 12. At that time, she and her parents started organizing her life around her dream. Landauer began working hard on and off the track, trying to land small sponsorships and grow brand awareness. Since that time she has become a NASCAR Next and NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver. At 24 years old, she has made a name for herself in a male-dominated sport, and done it all on her own, from handling her own publicity to personally pounding the pavement for sponsors — landing herself on the One Love Foundation/GCR  team. She has also become a sought-after speaker and an advocate for women in STEM.

As entrepreneurship grows in popularity, and the internet continues to provide new opportunities, more and more tweens and teens are following their entrepreneurial passions. Here are a few lessons for those hustlers and their families from the successful speaker, spokesperson, athlete and driver.

Be present.

Pursuing a dream and building a business, while still in school, requires a lot of energy and focus. Landauer missed around 130 days of high school for racing. She missed not only homework, but also the big games, pep rallies and birthday parties as well. The way to juggle it all well, she says, is to be fully present where you are when you’re there.

“When I was at school, I really dedicated myself to being in school. I try to be very present where I am, and I knew I wasn’t gonna be able to hang out with [friends] on the weekends,” she shared. “So when I was there, I really tried to make sure I was giving my friends the attention.”

Tailor your education.

There is an entire discussion about the state of the four-year college education in the United States that we won’t dive into here, but you can see why someone building a racing career may decide to skip university altogether. Landauer wanted her degree, though, so she decided to tailor her major for her specific needs. She blended computer science, mechanical engineering, communications, history and English. She wanted to “get a well-rounded education to be able to help, primarily with my racing career and brand.” At 18, having been in racing for eight years, she knew what was expected. She wanted some technical knowledge about the machinery, but she also needed to excel at communicating on camera, writing sponsorship proposals, making presentations and selling herself.

“When you’re hungry for something, you figure out what you need to do to make it work,” she explained.

Figure out the training you need to set yourself up for success, outside of your specific talents. This could mean honing your writing skills, learning basic coding, public speaking, etc. A few of my guests on The Pursuit say focus only on your strengths, but I have found that the reality for most is this: You won’t be able to outsource all of your weaknesses for years. Build your strengths in the most important brand-building areas where you need improvement.

Read the full story here.

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