St. Bonaventure University will celebrate the 30th annual national Women and Girls in Sports Day by welcoming high schoolers to campus on Friday, April 22.
This year’s event has a record 22 schools committed to sending students, above the average of 15 schools per year that attended in the past, said Dr. Paula Scraba, associate professor of physical education.
Scraba, director of the event, said the intention of the day is to remember the purpose behind the federal Title IX legislation and to provide more opportunities for girls and women in sports. Scraba said St. Bonaventure has been participating in the day since the late 1990s, and she began planning the event in 2007.
Ink Young, this year’s keynote speaker, will discuss “Nutrition and Exercise: Influences and Effects on the Female Athlete.” Young is the senior wellness director at the YMCA of the Twin Tiers.
The schools attend free of charge, but Scraba relies on the generosity of St. Bonaventure students, athletes and coaches. SBU students can donate lunches from their meal plans; ROTC donates the folders, pens, and water bottles; and University Relations donates sling bags to the high schoolers, Scraba said.
St. Bonaventure athletes volunteer their time to put on various sports clinics during the day, including softball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, tennis, swimming and cross country, as well as a fitness challenge and rock wall climbing organized by ROTC. Tours of the university are offered at the conclusion of the day’s planned events.
A student-athlete panel will add something new to this year’s program. At the start of the day, visiting students will have the opportunity to submit questions and the student-athlete panel will answer those questions during lunchtime, said Scraba.
Scraba said each year she tries to coordinate the day with an athletic event on campus. This year, visiting students will be able to attend a women’s lacrosse game at 4 p.m.
Scraba, who played basketball and swam for the University of Connecticut, fought for Title IX legislation as a college student. She said that despite the great improvements that have been made, the number of opportunities for women and girls in sports nationwide still grades out at only a C+.
“We need to continue to remind people, especially school administrators and athletic directors, that we are only just breaking ground after all these years,” Scraba said.
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