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The ProArts Students Playing on Emerson Teams

One woman carries another woman on her back.
MassArt student Mallory Hanson carries women’s soccer captain Veronica Alberts ’20 on her back.

By David Ertischek ’01

Did you know that the forward who scores the game-winning goal, the cross-country star who wins the meet, or the lacrosse goalie who shuts down the opponent, could also be tickling the ivories at Berklee?

Emerson is one of seven higher education institutions that are part of the Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts). ProArts provides cross-registration for students, faculty, and staff, resource sharing, access to libraries – and, if your institution doesn’t have a team you want to play on – access to athletic teams.  

Including Emerson, the other ProArts schools are Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Boston Architectural College, New England Conservatory, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt), and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University.

Students come to Emerson athletics in numerous ways. MassArt gives Emerson a list of potential student athletes, while Berklee students usually find out about the program through word of mouth, said Emerson’s women’s cross-country head coach Brandon Fox ’11.

Some students are recruited while in high school, with coaches knowing students will be attending another ProArts school.

“After day one, they’re all Lions,” said Fox. “The ability to still have athletics as part of their day-to-day activities is a great bonus. And with the ProArts Consortium being what it is, the athletes have similar academic interests.”

The women's soccer team takes a selfie with their coaches
Women’s Head Soccer Coach David Suvak takes a selfie with the team.

ProArts students crossing over to Emersonian sports teams isn’t terribly common. This year there are seven non-Emersonians on Emerson teams, according to the College’s Athletics Department. Head women’s soccer coach David Suvak is in his 11th year coaching the team, and has coached nine ProArts students.

MassArt senior Mallory Hanson, who’s played on the Emerson women’s soccer team all four years, said she’d also like to take classes at Emerson, as she’s intrigued by media arts production and communication disorders. But she has not been able to work them into her schedule.

Academic schedules can often pose challenges. Like any other activity, students need to be mindful of getting to practice.

Men’s head lacrosse coach Matt Colombini said that while being a Division III athlete can be difficult, “for our non-Emerson student-athlete, it is an even greater challenge. Class schedules can be difficult to arrange to fit with travel and practice, the distance to and from events is that much farther.”

Colombini added he admires non-Emerson athletes who make sports a priority with everything going on in their already busy lives.

Two male volleyball players laugh during a game
Leon Chen ’22 enjoys a laugh with Berklee student Danny Darress during a volleyball match. (Photo by Kate Foultz)

Students also get to know and socialize with peers they wouldn’t ordinarily meet. Berklee student Danny Darress, a sophomore majoring in jazz piano performance, said there are subtle differences between Berklee and Emerson students.

“I feel like I have more conversation about sports and life in general at Emerson,” said Darress, who is in the midst of his first season on Emerson’s men’s volleyball team. “At Berklee, students usually focus all of their attention on music. Although the two groups are different, most of us are artists and share similar beliefs and interests.”

Darress said there’s a great bond with many of his teammates, and he finds they talk about a lot of things other than volleyball.

women's cross-country team stand together

For coaches, getting an extra player or two from another school is a nice bonus. Men’s volleyball coach Read jokingly refers to it as the “Berklee/MassArt lottery”.

And when it comes down to it, they’re all Lions on the court, field, or track.

“I think there is a creative balance with all the players in what they are studying at Emerson, MassArt, and Berklee,” said Suvak. “It is one of the main reasons I enjoy coaching here at Emerson and working with smart, creative women.”

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