Meliyah Venerable / Managing Editor 

Assistant Athletic Director Tamikia Drake has brought the Viking Association of Student Athletes to Missouri Valley College. The ASA has been an association through the schools in the Heart of America Athletic Conference, but just has not been present at Missouri Valley College. The ASA is an association to give student athletes the chance to connect with others, learn leadership skills and service the community. 

Drake said she thought it was time for Valley to create the association. She remembered being a part of it when she was attending Ohio State, and was surprised the MVC didn’t have one. 

She said she wanted the student athletes to realize they were a part of something bigger.

“I wanted to make the student athletes here realize that they are part of something bigger than their team, honestly it’s bigger than Missouri Valley College, Drake explained,” “It’s a group of students who have a commonality of being a student athlete, because it’s a little bit different than just being a regular college student. Being able to balance the life of not only being a college student but being on a college-level athletic team. And balancing that life along with family, work and any other outside activity you may be a part of.”

When choosing which student athletes were in the association, Drake contacted each coach and asked them to send her two leaders of the team. She didn’t necessarily want captains, just someone who was a leader and would have no problem using their voice for the better of the college. 

Morgan Middleton is one of the student athletes that are in VASA, and she is optimistic about what the association will do around campus. 

“I do think that creating this organization will be beneficial to student athletes, ” Middleton said. “Being a part of VASA is something that I can add on to my resume, and even thinking about the present time this organization informs me about things on campus. Everyone has great ideas but sometimes it’s hard for those ideas to be heard, and I’m honored to be that person to speak up and get change.”

Drake wants the members to not only be representatives of their sports, and leaders on their team, but leaders on campus and throughout the Marshall community.

“This group is not only student athletes, but leaders on campus and leading by example. Learning how to be a leader is also going to be a big part of this association as we build it,” she said. To build those skill sets, not only be a leader on your team but in society. Because you have four, maybe five years, covid, 6 as a college student athlete but then what? It is important to have those leadership life skills so that you can be prepared for the world after.”

The group is excited to create the association, they all seem to have a common goal Drake Tipton explained some of their goals and accomplishments thus far,

“I think the goals are very shared when we get together, make Missouri Valley College the place to be. We look around and we see so many schools that seem to be the place to be…and we wonder why? What are we doing wrong? So our first few steps of VASA (Viking Association of Student Athletes) is to make campus better for our students and to make Marshall a better community. I wish I could give more insight on what the plans are but they are still in the rough draft stages but I can say we intend to get students more involved not only with on campus activities and each other, but with people from the community. On the 14th of February, we had a men’s and women’s basketball game and were able to bring some of the Marshall high schoolers in to hang out, connect with college athletes, and just get to enjoy the MVC energy all while hosting a canned food drive. VASA is not only for the betterment of our school, but the betterment of our community and legacy as a school,” Tipton said.