RIO GRANDE VALLEY (KVEO) — Becoming a student-athlete is a dream for young, inspiring people who hope their craft will bring them far in life. For UTRGV women’s soccer defender Shi’Anne Swift, soccer is apart of her. However, it’s not the only part of her.
Swift was recently chosen to attend the Black Student-Athletes UT System Summit in January, a three-day event with workshops that openly discuss complex issues surrounding black student-athletes. Though it was held virtually this year, the event was packed with informational workshops opening up conversations with institutions, coaches, and players around the country.
“There was this one [workshop] that I really liked,” said Swift. “That was like, what can we do to help black student-athletes? That’s true because I feel like, what is there to do to help them?”
An administrator at UTRGV originally recommended her to the summit, but once attending, she found that she was really diving into the workshops offered.
“A lot of the ones I went to were like athlete activism. I went to that one. That one was cool because it’s like you know, as student-athletes it’s hard to have someone advocate for you in times like this.”
Though she was learning more and more about topics she was already passionate about, she was also learning about things like mental health. A topic that she feels could help her communicate with her teammates and peers. Swift was amazed at the amount of people who attended, and where they were from.
“I went to [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] prior to coming to UTRGV,” said Swift. “So I know what it means, we always have these conversations to talk about how a lot of good black athletes go to HBCU’s being that there’s bigger institutions to go to that get more money and they’re more valued there, so it’s good to hear other athletes that felt the same that go to a bigger institution.”
Now, Swift hopes to keep the conversations from the summit open and ongoing and to see more institutions involved in the future.
“It’s not only in Texas like it was a lot of other schools that participated that weren’t HBCU’s trying to have knowledge upon what we’re going through so I think that’s really cool,” said Swift. “I think that’s what’s really important you don’t have to understand it but you can at least know what’s going on.”