By: Jennifer Ward
The Panther Challenge has become a brand new way for the Purchase athletics department not only to compete against each other but to form bonds with each other. The brand new challenge has started this semester for students in the athletics department not only to push their boundaries but as a way for connections to form and a great way to make friends.
Men’s lacrosse coach and academic coordinator for the athletics department Daniel Lawrence is the one who brought the panther challenge to the Purchase campus. “The point of the Panther Challenge is to get the student-athletes out of their rooms, out of the gym, interacting, and getting back to where we were when everybody was really interacting and supporting each other,” said Lawrence.
Students earn points based on many different activities. A team can earn points for having a high GPA, community service projects they do as a team, attending each other’s games, attending speaking events, attending art shows, dance shows, and possibly other events happening on campus.
“The whole thing, especially for student-athletes, is to make it a contest. Anytime there’s a score being kept, usually, student-athletes are down to do it,” Lawrence said.
The winning team is rewarded with extra money for their team next year. They will be able to use it for new equipment, chances for field trips off campus, or anything under the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) guidelines.
Director of physical education, recreation, and athletics Chris Bisignano said, “It’s a nice way to accomplish a couple of different goals, form comradery, and help them work towards something without realizing they’re working towards something.”
Athletes have been very enthusiastic about this competition and having the chance to earn points, competing to be head of the competition. Senior arts management and theater and performance major, as well as captain of the girl’s soccer team, Kristen Purcell said, “Purchase is such an artsy school- it’s so cool we have athletics, and we’re our own little community as well so it gets us to go out and support each other and be more engaged in the conversations the school is providing with us.”
Athletes have been encouraged to support each other and depend on each other. “For me, my point is that it really builds team chemistry and a sense of relying on each other,” Bisignano said.
The Panther Challenge will continue through future years, which is exciting for athletes to look forward to.
Lawrence said, “I’m hoping that everybody off and on campus sees the great student-athletes we have and the awesome things they do.”