Still in the Game

By Marcia Faye

Taylor Duman (ARCH 4th year) may have spiked her final ball as captain of the 2014 IIT Scarlet Hawks women’s volleyball team last October, but she’s found a way to inspire student-athletes using an off-court strategy—by taking the spring Interprofessional Projects (IPRO) Program course IIT Pride: Improving Student and University Community Engagement.

Taylor Duman
Taylor Duman
Photo: Bonnie Robinson

Last fall the Walled Lake, Mich., native completed playing all four of her allotted seasons and wanted to use her fifth year at IIT College of Architecture to share some of her real-world student-athlete tips within the real-world environment of the IPRO Program. After only the first class, Duman says she is enthusiastic about the possibility of racking up more points in school spirit with an assist from a familiar campus face: Talon the Hawk.

“We’re hoping to do Spot the Hawk events where students spot Talon, take a photo, and post it on social media. For doing that they could obtain food vouchers or school-spirit attire,” explains Duman, about a project she plans to work on with a current member of the women’s basketball team. She notes that such a project would involve all students on Main Campus, not only student-athletes, and would help to spread a sense of pride—and fun—throughout the IIT community.

Steve Hammond, course instructor and IIT Institute of Design adjunct faculty member, says that Duman is one of two student-athletes out of 12 total students taking this semester’s IIT Pride, which aims to deepen the connection students have with the university. He notes that, in general, student-athletes in the IPRO have contributed much as both supporters and recipients of Hawk pride.

“Athletes understand intimately that sporting events bring the IIT community together,” he says. “And we go beyond athletics. They have brought their discipline and enthusiasm to projects like the Mr. and Ms. Hawk event and the development of IIT apparel through design contests and student market research.”

Duman follows in the footsteps of psychology graduate student Roma Mirutenko, assistant coach of the IIT Scarlet Hawks women’s volleyball team, who was instrumental in further refining the IIT Pride course when she played for the IIT volleyball team and served as Student Athletic Advising Committee president.

“I am excited that another athlete has joined the IPRO. Her passion as an athlete as well as a student who desires to increase school spirit is what the school really needs,” says Mirutenko. “She has seen how other schools of our size foster school spirit at home games and on campus, which will be helpful when trying to raise IIT’s Hawk pride.”