Walter Washington ’19 wears many hats. On top of a full slate of classes and being Student Body President, he sings in an a cappella group, works a job, and is a member of the football team. With this much on his plate, managing time effectively becomes very important.
“Even if I have a very busy day, I will take 20 to 30 minutes… I’m going to do something that takes all the pressure away. That way when I get to whatever else that’s time consuming or busy that I have to do, I’m at my best,” he says. By allowing himself to take some time for himself, he always manages to stay on top of the full schedule in front of him.
One of the largest commitments is playing football, with time taken for games, travel, practices, and more. Despite this, Walter finds these dual roles beneficial to his jobs on campus.
“I have a hold on a lot of different communities, which I thought would be great for a president to have in order to advocate for everyone’s desires,” he says. The ability to hear from various groups of students frequently gives him a chance to see how a majority of students at Bates are feeling about things, instead of being limited to a much smaller pool.
More specifically, he feels that he can speak effectively with people on the athletics side better than someone without a connection to that aspect of the Bates community.
“Part of being in those different communities is it gives you different perspectives that allows you to advocate and interpret everyone’s needs in the proper way,” Walter says. He gave an example of understanding the need for new equipment. He knows what is needed because he has used the equipment and lived the experience, whereas someone that has not had that role with Bates athletics cannot understand what goes on to the same extent.
This also extends to his ability to sympathize with student-athletes.
“I don’t know if a football player has ever been Student Body President. Football players, no matter where you go, are going to get sort of written off as meatheads, but we’re at one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country,” he explains. “We got in here for a reason, not just because we can play sports.” Not only is Walter proving this to be true through his many roles on campus outside of athletics, he can also make sure not to let that perception influence his thinking as he operates as president.
Walter’s many roles speak volumes about his character. He cites wanting to make his parents proud as the reason for pursuing all that he does at Bates.
Being a Division III football player also highlights his mentality about his college experience and beyond.
“If you’re playing DIII football it has to tell you something about your character, right? Because you’re not doing this for any other sort of glorification, you’re doing this because you love the game of football. To compete for no other reason than just to compete is something that speaks largely to an individual’s character,” he explains. Clearly driven to compete and be the best he can be, Walter has utilized athletics, student government, and academics to achieve these goals.
Ultimately, Walter will have an important role in both sides of the Bates experience this year, as a football player and a student. He does not think that these things are separate entities, however. He knows that the solution to bringing the two together is simple, saying, “great football players being great individuals and great students.”
As Bates football comes off a tough week one loss to Amherst, Walter will take the field with the Bobcats on September 23rd at 1 p.m. for the home opener against Trinity.