The Student Union of Multicultural Affairs (SUMA) brought in former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch Tuesday at the Advanced Technology and Science Hall auditorium to speak to students about overcoming adversity and his experience with teammates who come from different backgrounds.
“We decided to bring in Charlie Batch because he is from the Pittsburgh area and he gives a lot back to his community,” SUMA Historian Taylor Scales, who organized the event which allowed Batch to speak at the university, said. “Having played professional football, he was in a diverse environment. There were people who were different than him, didn’t walk like him or look like him, but they were all part of the same team and worked together on the field.”
In his presentation, Batch talked about the “Best of Batch Foundation,” an organization which he began in 1999 while he was still a member of the Detroit Lions.
The foundation’s goal is to improve the lives of children and families in distressed situations by building character, self-esteem and appreciation of their community. Having been a part of the Steelers organization for 11 seasons and growing up in the Pittsburgh area, Batch was motivated to build on the foundation in the area, although he was still a member of the Detroit Lions when it was formed.
“It was always important for me to be in Pittsburgh while we were building our programs,” Batch said. “I love to be hands on. I don’t just put my name on something and then decide I’m not going to be there. Being able to play so close to home allowed me to be very involved and probably allowed us to grow a lot faster than other organizations would be able to.”
Batch also expressed how it is important to him to be able to come to Slippery Rock and universities to reach out to students about his organization and the importance of education.
“If you play sports, eventually it will be taken from you,” Batch said. “Whenever that day arrives, it’s always important to have an education to fall back on.”
Other than talking about his foundation, Batch also spoke about his journey to the NFL and how important it was for him to become a role model for children in the inner city of Pittsburgh. While attending Eastern Michigan University, Batch received a phone call from his mother which notified him that his sister had been killed in a gang related shooting back at home. Instead of seeking revenge on anyone who may have been involved, Batch used his anger as motivation to become the first person in his family to receive a college degree, and eventually go to the NFL and build an organization which helps kids stay off of the streets.
After 13 years of development, the Best of Batch foundation annually services 3,300 kids across five different counties in the Pittsburgh area.
SUMA’s goal is to unite different cultures and eliminate campus diversity through a series of events which allows students to express their cultures and share with others.