Men’s Lax Takes on 16-Mile Seven Sisters Range
Issue   |   Wed, 10/29/2014 - 01:22
Photo courtesy of Matthew Killian '17
The men’s lacrosse team hiked the 16-mile Seven Sisters Holyoke mountain range to raise money and awareness for SBIG.

On Friday, Oct. 24, the men’s lacrosse team ran nearly 16 miles up and down the “Seven Sisters” mountain range to help raise money and awareness for Students Bridging The Information Gap (SBIG). This nonprofit organization was founded by Matthew Killian ’17 of the men’s lacrosse team with the help of family and friends and provides technological and infrastructure resources for students in Ghana. Friday’s 16-mile “Sprint for SBIG” consisted of 14 peaks and more than 4,000 feet of vertical climb of rocky terrain along the Holyoke Range.

“It was definitely one of the most difficult physical and mental challenges of my life.” Kane Haffey ’16 said. “Your body constantly wants to quit, but you have to remind yourself it’s for a great cause.”

SBIG was founded in 2008, with a primary focus to provide computer labs and libraries along with age-appropriate reading material to less fortunate students and orphans in Africa. Since 2008, SBIG has built and supplied computer labs and libraries to four schools and orphanages in Ghana. “With the fundraising efforts we earn from the Sprint for SBIG we are looking towards opening a fifth.” Matt Killian ’17 said. “We are looking forward to further helping the children of Ghana to use their education to help their struggling communities in the future.”

SBIG has helped over 2,100 children at the Baptist School Complex and Orphanage (2008), Good Shepherd Orphanage (2009), New Life International Children’s Home (2010), and In My Father’s House (2011). SBIG utilizes all volunteer staffing and has formed meaningful relationships with a team of local professionals and volunteers and now has a strong presence in Africa. Killian has traveled to Ghana twice with SBIG and says it was an “eye opening experience. The kids were so thankful and welcoming, it was a joy be able to help them. It also made me appreciate all that I have and how blessed I am to have an Amherst education.”

Using a detailed Needs Assessment to evaluate the physical infrastructure, access to water and electricity, characteristics of the students and staff, and reputation of the organization, SBIG’s mission is to bring a learning focused aid to the less fortunate in Africa.

Men’s lacrosse came together once again this Friday to help create a better local and global community. Building character and working together as a team to forward their efforts toward transcendent causes year after year. In 2011, the men’s lacrosse team raised almost $15,000 for their “Climb for Cole” to support United Cerebral Palsy. In 2012, their “Hike for Helen” raised more than $25,000 for research towards a rare form of pediatric cancer, and in 2013, the men’s lacrosse team’s “Student Sponsor Summit” raised more $40,000 for the educational benefit of atricsk children in NYC.

“Everyone rallied behind the idea of the Amherst Lacrosse team making a positive impact in the world,” said Killian, “and I think that’s what gets the guys through the grueling run.”

“The most rewarding experience, other than completing the run, will be finally seeing the result of our fundraising and the impact is has in Ghana,” Haffey said. “Coming together as a team and being able to make a difference in the world makes the physical and mental challenge worth it in the end.”

Captain Matt Virgilio ‘15 reflects on the memorable experience, “it was an awesome run aimed at raising awareness and donations in order to help build computer labs and libraries for orphanages in Ghana. Although it’s a great physical challenge and it undoubtedly brings us closer together as a unit, the emphasis is really on the children who hopefully will gain far greater opportunities through our efforts.”

Coming off of one of the strongest seasons of Lord Jeff lacrosse history (12-3 regular season), the team is looking forward to making it even further in the upcoming 2015 season. Appearing in the NESCAC championship game for the first time in over 14 years, the Lord Jeffs fell to Tufts 20-13 who went on to earn the title of 2014 National Champions.

Captain Carl Lampe ‘15 reflects on fall training and anticipates an intense season, “As we close out fall training, we look forward to working hard on our own over interterm, to then reunite with our teammates currently abroad and hit the ground running with just a few short weeks before our 2015 season begins on Feb. 15.”

The Lord Jeffs look ahead to preseason and their first game against Bates on Feb. 28th in Lewiston, ME.