Muhlenberg Athletic Leadership Team (MALT) was created four years ago to encourage student athletes to attend each other’s games and do community service. Within the first year of MALT, there was a shift in executive power from the coaches’ to student-athletes. This change in leadership made communication a lot smoother between MALT and other student-athletes, which helped MALT quickly grow.
“Go downstairs in Seegers [Union] and on the stairs, look at all the flyers on the wall. How do you get your event to stand out unless it is for a small and specialized group?” asked Sarah Leavenworth, head softball coach and advisor for MALT.
After about six months of student-athlete leadership, Leavenworth joined as the advisor and leader for the club. While students-athletes continued to play a huge role in the process of planning events as well as coming up with ideas, Leavenworth had a wider range of people that she was able to reach out to; however, “Everyone’s schedule is chaotic,” said Leavenworth. “The turf is full from 4-10 p.m. so if I want to meet with all the athletes, I am going to miss somebody. And then in the middle of the day you have to work around class schedules.” And since athletes comprise only 28 percent of the Muhlenberg student population, MALT has a limited pool of students to recruit from.”
However, when everyone was sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and most clubs had to shut down or pause–MALT grew bigger than ever.
When students returned to campus, many were hesitant to volunteer. There were fears of events getting canceled and an overall fear of getting sick. This made it significantly harder for Leavenworth and other MALT representatives to hold events.
“During COVID, it was actually easier to get people involved because everyone was stuck at home and everything was online,” Leavenworth explained. “Things were just weird when we came back, not knowing what was going to be normal.”
More recently, MALT has been holding events with the local community like a Special Olympics and DIII week, as well as helping other student-athlete organizations like ‘Head in the Game.’ The community outreach is continuing to grow and the Muhlenberg athletic community is growing each year.