Faculty win Baruch’s first-ever student-faculty basketball game

Emanuela Gallo, Editor-in-Chief

Faculty out-dueled students 77-55 in Baruch College’s first-ever student-faculty basketball game at the ARC Arena on March 9. Thirty students and 20 faculty members participated.

Stands on both sides of the court were filled with crowds roaring in support and frustration throughout the game.

“The students were a little disappointing,” English professor Holden Taylor, who played in the game, said to The Ticker. “They didn’t bring their A-game.”

The Undergraduate Student Government’s vice president of academic affairs, Jason Galak, led the committee that organized the event. He partnered with the student-athlete advisory committee’s president, Julia Cuttone.

“I was not expecting our students to lose like that, but they were good sports,” USG President Laiba Hussain said. “The faculty did amazing … Very good start to a new tradition at Baruch.”

At the start, the masters of ceremonies Amanda Martinez and Adam Neri from WBMB Radio announced the starting lineups for the student and faculty teams. Players gave each other high-fives as their names were called.

Baruch President S. David Wu did the tip-off. Jehmehl Fair and Michael Mokwuah from Baruch’s men’s basketball team served as referees.

After the first half of the game, members of the men’s and women’s basketball teams played in a three-point contest.

From the women’s team, Elissa Leung scored eight, Paige Traynor scored 11 and Mia Castillo scored nine. From the men’s team, Sayeed ‘Klay’ Osorio scored 12, Devin Nicholson scored 10 and Gerard Nicholson scored 14. Each player took 20 shots.

Galak then announced the winners of a raffle. Prizes included current NBA player jerseys, a Wilson NBA authentic series basketball, a pair of Nike Air Force 1’s, a speaker, a Kobe Bryant Lakers bobblehead, a Baruch hoodie and a Baruch cap.

“The professors had an MVP with the dude in the green shorts,” audience member and finance major Thomas Lieuw said in reference to Taylor. “I think it’s great that Baruch has events like this to bring people together.”

USG members gave out crewnecks, sweatpants and caps to attendees an hour before the game. Rep. Sen. Adriana Cuca handled the game’s merchandise.

In the beginning, Galak hosted a moment of silence in honor of management professor Ivan Montiel, who recently died. Montiel was active on campus and was involved in ​​the Baruch Climate Scholars Program.

“He gave so much to the school,” Galak said in an interview with The Ticker.

Galak had the idea for a student-faculty game from his high school. His participation then inspired him to recreate that experience at Baruch.

“All the students had so much fun, the ones watching and playing,” he said. “The staff had so much fun. So why can’t we just bring this to Baruch?”

In addition to USG, the Office of Student Life and Athletics were involved in bringing the game to life. Galak brought the idea to Deputy Director of Student Life Dinetta Curtis last September and began the process for approval.

The committee recruited faculty players via the provost’s email newsletter and flyers put up in departments.

It also offered an incentive for students to recruit their professors: first pick at the game’s merchandise. This method resulted in five professors joining, according to Galak.

In addition to Galak and Cuttone, the student-faculty game committee included Vice Chair of Academic Affairs Muskaan Kapoor, who is also on the softball team, Angie Bacarella from the women’s basketball team and Joseph Fitzgerald from the men’s basketball team.

Student players included first-year Gabriela Ledesma and sophomore Kelly Contreras.

“I thought it’d be fun to go against the faculty,” Ledesma, who played against her English professor, said. “I felt like we could’ve done better, but we’ll definitely get them next year.”

Contreras said she participated to show school spirit. She recalled a moment when fellow player Isabella Doring passed her the ball.

“One of the faculty swiped it,” she said. “I didn’t even get to brush them off.”

Some professors who played were Anna D’Souza, Zeljko Sockovic, Chester Zarnoch and Michael O’Donnell. They teach public affairs, accountancy, natural sciences and computer information systems, respectively.

Other faculty and staff players included Michael Doris and Elizabeth Singh from New Student and Family Programs, Charles Martinez from Athletics, Rene Hernandez from Success Amplified and George Yang from Public Safety.

Galak said the game was the “perfect way” to bridge the gap between faculty and students. He referred to how both were in the audience.

“It was cool that [faculty and students] got to interact on the court and in the stands,” he said.

Editor’s Note: Dani Heba, the sports editor of The Ticker, played in the game.