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It’s How You Play the Game

Junior women’s tennis player Nithila Asokaraj and senior
golfer Andrew Fiorenzano represented URI at the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Providence November 7-10.

The annual event hosted more than 350 student-athletes who were identified as leaders on their campuses, as well as 125 athletics professionals from the Northeast. The Leadership Forum is one of the largest non-competitive gatherings of NCAA student-athletes representing their colleges and universities. It is designed to give student-athletes a forum where they can discuss key issues collectively, as well as an opportunity to enhance the personal awareness and leadership skills they’ll need to develop their skills at the campus and conference levels, and beyond the collegiate realm.

“From the beginning, there was a strong emphasis on living each day to the fullest, and seizing opportunity in the moment,” said Fiorenzano, a Cranston native. “Our facilitators likened day-to-day life, life amongst teammates, and future professional life to driving a car. We want to be the drivers, not the passengers.”

Student-athlete attendees from Division I, II and III programs were grouped into different teams with 35 to 40 of their peers. Within these teams, representatives from NCAA member schools led discussions designed to help participants become more effective leaders and motivators. Among the various topics discussed were behavioral styles, decision-making, emotional intelligence, and values.

“We also had important discussions about our leadership styles, our personal brand, and the way we represent ourselves via social media,” explained Asokaraj, a native of Marlborough, Mass. “It was an awesome experience. I learned a lot—not only about myself, but about different leadership tools and ways to motivate and empower others.”

Speakers included Chris Herren, a former NBA player and drug and alcohol addict in recovery, who spoke about decision making; and Rayna DuBose, a former Division I basketball student-athlete and quad amputee, who spoke about facing adversity.

The weekend also featured a service component as the entire athletic community worked together to make blankets and teddy bears for Providence’s St. Mary’s Home for Children.

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