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SAAC Spotlight: Western Oregon's Lauren Berry
Lauren Berry placed 17th in the long jump at the 2019 GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Lauren Berry placed 17th in the long jump at the 2019 GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Lauren Berry
Lauren Berry

Friday, February 21, 2020

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, GNACsports.com uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes’ lives on NCAA member institution campuses.

Name: Lauren Berry
Sport:
Track and Field
Institution: 
Western Oregon University
Year: Junior
Major:
 Business Marketing
Hometown:
 Bothell, Washington

Why Did You Choose To Attend Western Oregon?: I enjoy the environment of the school and the campus is beautiful. I like that it’s far enough from home but not too far.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken And Why?: My favorite class was Intercultural Communication because I learned a lot about myself. On top of learning more about who I am as a student and an athlete, I learned about privilege and how to educate people culturally.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?: My favorite professor would be my sports communication professor, Alex Curry. He shares a lot of the same perspectives on sports as I do and helped me to realize that sports are a lot more than just sports. I appreciate him for giving me that perspective because people don’t realize how involved sports are in their lives.

Years Involved In SAAC: One year.

The Reason You Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: I wanted people to know that being an athlete isn't just about playing a particular sport. Student-athletes are more than that. We are involved on campus and try to promote clubs and foundations. We also help to make athletic events more interesting and inclusive for everyone on campus.

Most Memorable SAAC Activity To Date: My most memorable SAAC activity would be when we had a raffle for an Amazon Echo Dot that I donated to SAAC. It was fun to speak with fans, donors and parents about what SAAC is and what we do. I made a lot of connections and got insight into how great we all were at communicating with everyone.

How Do You Feel Participating In SAAC Will Help You In Life After You Graduate?: Participating in SAAC will help me in my life after I graduate because it has shown me that sports are more than they appear to be. It is not all about sports and athletes. It is about networking to help make events more open for everyone on campus and in the community. SAAC has taught me to use any and all resources that are accessible to me.

What Does It Mean To You To Be A Division II Student-Athlete?: Being a Division II student-athlete means getting involved in the community. Being involved in a smaller community and making friendships has helped me to network and share my ideas so I can help to make our campus more exciting.

What Is The Most Important Thing You’ve Learned About Balancing Athletics And Academics?: I have developed very valuable time management skills. During the season, we travel a lot and miss classes so it’s sometimes hard to dedicate an entire day to schoolwork. Learning how to study while also working hard to prepare for my sport will help me in the future.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome During Your Collegiate Career: My biggest obstacle was finding the right people to spend my time with. In college, you are on your own most of the time. I am always making sure that I put my time into valuable friendships that will motivate me to succeed.

Favorite Thing About Competing In The GNAC: I love the competition. Even though we are a smaller section of the NCAA, all GNAC schools compete with a lot of drive.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: My most memorable moment was the first jump of my collegiate career at Washington State during last year’s indoor track and field season. I was nervous and I didn’t know how I was going to do. I broke a personal record on my first jump and could see that my coach was happy. He told me what I needed to fix and, when the second jump came, I set a personal record again.

If You Could Change One NCAA Rule, It Would Be: I would change the way the NCAA regulates money. Schools in all divisions should be able to give full-ride scholarships as well as have fully-funded programs. Student-athletes in all divisions work hard and I think the NCAA should evenly spread money a little better.

Current Mentor(s): Jasmine Miller, Rendel Jones and Patrick Morell.

Best Advice You’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: Go out and do things. Don't seclude yourself in your dorm room. Join clubs and organizations and become friends with people you wouldn't think you would have things in common with. When you have people around you, it will distract you from the fact that you miss home or are on your own.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why)?: Jackie Robinson. I would want to know his motivation for wanting to stay in MLB with all of the criticism and hate that he received. I think Jackie Robinson is a very influential figure for African Americans in sports. He and others have sparked so much change and I would want to thank him for having courage.

Extracurricular Activities: I am a member of SAAC and the secretary of the Business and Economics Club.

Future Goals After Graduation: I hope to work for a company that will allow me to share and express my marketing ideas so I can help make the business better.

Favorite Sports Team: Seattle Seahawks.

Favorite Athlete: Usain Bolt.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You Is: I love to read, especially action or nonfiction books.

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