Commitments, time management, scheduling, creative thinking, and cultural and educational travel are all part of being a Cooper Union scholar-athlete. Over time, it became clear we needed to invest in our athletes’ personal and athletic development, so we made a long-term investment in travel and training to prepare to face future opponents. In 1997, the Cooper Union basketball team established a relationship with the California Institute of Technology. Until 2005, each November, the basketball team played an annual game against CalTech. In 2005, the men’s team pursued games in St. Thomas and St. Maarten. For the last three years, the women’s team has trained in Delray Beach, Florida. This upcoming year, on Tuesday, November 1st, both the men’s and women’s teams will travel to Florida. Both teams are in a transitional period and will need the Florida trip to forge their unique identities. Ordinarily, the teams fly to Florida on a Tuesday night, heavy backpacks full of textbooks included, and fly back the following Sunday night. In the mean time, the teams reside in a dozen beach-front, Breakers hotel apartments, reserved so players may study and relax.
The team inspires future scholar-athletes through clinics for the students at Poinciana STEM Elementary Magnet School (Boynton Beach). Throughout the five-day Florida trip, players work day and night to refine skills, learn plays, and re-establish court chemistry. The students who excitedly participate in these clinics receive basketballs and shirts designed by Cooper Union players, all donated by famous and distinguished alumni.
In addition to these focused practice sessions, three students on the most recent Florida trip, Jean Lam ChE '17, Jamie Chan ChE'16, and Kayla Weg ChE'16, conducted a science workshop for the elementary school's third graders. We will expand the academic components to the trip; and according to Dean Baker, they will be major parts of future Florida trips. As scholar-athletes, members of the Cooper Union teams always strive to give back to the community through education.