The daily grind of being an Eastern Michigan University athlete is no easy task, but try being Dan Proctor.
Proctor is not only on the men’s swim team, but serves as the President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on campus.
EMU swimming head coach Peter Linn believes Proctor’s will is what helped him get to where he is today.
“[Dan] is fixated on being excellent in all facets of life,” Linn said. “His personal determination to be the best is what attracted me to recruit him.”
Even with the busy schedule, Proctor and other athletes from various sports that serve on the council strive to make sure all of the athletes’ voices are heard.
“Our goal is to make sure we are the voices of the student-athletes, athletic department, and the rest of the student body,” Proctor said.
At the end of his freshman year, Proctor was inspired to become involved with the SAAC.
“I got involved along with [former volleyball player] Kaitlyn Vincek and it did not have as much precedence,” Proctor said. “With Heather (Lyke) coming in last year, she made sure that it is mandatory for kids to show up. We helped pick the representatives and as a result, the kids who are there actually want to do something.”
Before Lyke’s arrival, meetings would go as long as 5-10 minutes, but now they last at least an hour.
“Bringing an agenda and having minutes meetings has helped accelerate the change,” Proctor said.
While serving as the President of the Committee, Proctor has seen attendance at the SAAC meetings go from eight to 100 percent in the 2013-14 school year.
Two representatives from each sport attend the monthly meetings where they talk about different topics and issues within the teams.
Although, they are better off than some of the Mid-American Conference schools in terms of taking the initiative, Proctor wants to see EMU take charge more often when it comes to issues involving student-athletes.
“Northern Illinois and Bowling Green are substantially ahead of us right now in terms of initiatives,” Proctor said. “Hopefully in time, we will be able to get the building blocks so that we can be the best in the MAC.”
After attending the Eastern Echo EMU Athletics Forum on Dec. 5, 2013, Proctor wants to bring the athletes closer together as opposed to being distant.
“(Students and fans) don’t think that the athletes are together as much as we used to do,” he said. “I think it is a big goal of not only us, but for the athletic department because it can bring the athletes together and do more events.”
On Feb. 11 at 7 p.m., EMU’s varsity teams will compete against each other in Jock Jams at Pease Auditorium.
The event will feature a dance-off between teams and was put together to show that the athletes are also regular students.
“It shows the student body and the local community that we are not just kids behind pads and swimsuits,” Proctor said. “We’re college kids like everyone else and it is a way to have fun amongst the teams.”
One of the most difficult things for student-athletes is the lack of socializing with non-college athletes because of the busy schedules they keep up.
“One of the hardest things as an athlete is that you rarely get to see players from other sports compete, so hopefully this event will be an opportunity for everyone to mingle,” Proctor said.
Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy
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