$18,000/yr.

That was my family’s household income the year I started my Brown education. I grew up in trailer parks, meth-riddled neighborhoods, and, at times, with household domestic violence. Despite that, I graduated HS with a 4.2 GPA, as a state medalist in track and field, and with deep community involvement, including once being the keynote speaker at the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ. I cannot overstate the impact that the consistency of being a member of my track and field team had on the positive trajectory of my life.

Therefore, when looking for a college home, a varsity track and field team was a must. After exploring many options, I fell in love with Brown after taking an official visit with the team. During my time at Brown, in addition to becoming a track team captain and a Sidney Frank Scholar, I lived with and became lifelong friends with non-athletes, excelled in the classroom, and championed the ideals of inclusiveness, honesty, and integrity. I even returned to Brown to complete a master’s degree in teaching.

However, without varsity track and field, I never would have considered Brown. Moreover, with one of the lowest financial barriers to entry, I fear that taking away varsity track and field will lead to fewer people like me considering Brown. To me, that is a travesty, and Brown will be made less.