Bona student-athletes prove perseverance leads to success
ST. BONAVENTURE — Legacy student-athlete Olivia Moon understands the demands of playing a Division I sport. As a fifth-year softball player at St. Bonaventure University, she has learned how to successfully juggle training, classes and homework.
A native of Perry, Ohio, Moon is a double major in health science and Spanish, with a minor in psychology. She credits the academic support team at Bona’s for helping her succeed – both in the classroom and in competition. Her time in The Gus Galasso Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes has made the difference.
“The center directors taught me to work on the small assignments first. This way, when I have bigger assignments, I can work on those more thoroughly,” Moon said. “The weekly academic meetings are super beneficial because I know where I stand for each class.”
Located in the lower level of the Reilly Center, the center serves approximately 400 student-athletes each year.
Director Joel Rosencrance, a former Bona baseball player, knows firsthand that it takes a good schedule and ambition to make for a balanced and successful college career and life. He stresses the idea of time management and establishing a routine that works for everyone. “It’s looking at what time is set and what time is yours, and then it’s knowing what success looks like for you,” he said.
Rosencrance sees himself as a connector, facilitating communication between and among student-athletes, professors and coaches.
“What has allowed us to be really successful is the quality of the student-athletes that we bring in,” he said. “They understand the amount of work they must put in and their academic responsibilities. By communicating with professors and planning forward in the semester, we can add value for these already high-performing individuals.”
Even on the road, the student-athletes remain focused on their studies. Rosencrance travels with various teams, scheduling time between practices and games for the student-athletes to sit together and work on their assignments. “This ensures no one falls behind,” he said.
Assistant Director Nate Parish puts his focus on requirements set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He works with each student-athlete to make sure they are on track with their majors and are eligible to compete within their sport by meeting NCAA standards. Parish also ensures that the Bonnies keep up with their required study hall hours, creating class schedules that work best with their athletic program.
Additionally, Parish works closely with international student-athletes. For some, English is not their first language, which can cause the student to struggle with coursework. To help these students, Parish will find a system that works for everyone. In most cases, it’s continuing those weekly meetings through their senior year. This allows the student to talk to someone weekly about their assignments as well as improve their English.
“With international students, we have a good support system here. It’s rewarding to see their growth,” Parish said.
Upgrading the Galasso Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes is part of the plans within the university’s largest fundraising campaign, A Bolder Bonaventure: Ignite. Inspire. Invest. One of the campaign’s top priorities is to transform St. Bonaventure’s athletics facilities and ensure a strongly competitive Division I experience for every student-athlete.Rosencrance said gifts to the campaign will help to expand the center and enhance its learning tools.
“The Bolder Bonaventure campaign will elevate the key areas of the student-athlete experience, so future generations will have the facilities, resources and access to the highest level of support on their journey,” he said.