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Arshay Cooper: The Impact of Access, Relationship Building, and Leaving a Legacy

Thu, February 2nd, 2023
11:00 am
- 12:30 pm

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This Claiming Williams morning keynote will be live streamed and shown live on WilliNet TV channel 1303 in Williamstown.

Arshay Cooper is a Rower, Bestselling and Award-winning Author, A 2x Golden Oar recipient for his contributions to the sport of rowing, a motivational speaker, activist, and the protagonist of the film A Most Beautiful Thing.  Arshay grew up on the West Side of Chicago in a community surrounded by gangs in drugs. In 1997 he joined (and later became captain of) the country’s first All-Black high school rowing team at Manley High School, an experience that changed his life. He then dedicated two years of his life to AmeriCorps, focusing on DE&I, and soon after that attended Le Cordon Bleu, becoming a personal chef for World Wrestling Entertainment, Warner Brothers film sets, and professional athletes. After years as an entrepreneur in the food service industry, Arshay returned to his true passion: working with young people. He founded the NY East Side Rowing Club and worked as the national youth program guidance counselor for Victory Outreach International. Arshay has also help started several rowing programs for low-income youth across the country, anywhere a puddle of water exists, so that other young people can experience the profound change that can happen on the water.

Arshay is the founder of the National Award-Winning Non-Profit, The A Beautiful Thing Inclusion Fund, which introduced thousands of under-resourced youth to the sport of rowing. Arshay’s mission has sparked the MLK Day of Service “DAY ON” for collegiate and high school sports teams across the country and community rowing events between local Police and community members.

Arshay message has spread all across the world, speaking for the members of Congress, the NBA and WNBA, the NAACP, the Obama Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus, and professional sports teams (including the Oakland A’s, the Atlanta Hawks, the Miami Dolphins, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Chicago Bulls.) The British, New Zealand, Australian, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Egyptian, Turkish, Canadian, and other Olympic teams are supporting Arshay and the film profoundly, including creating new charitable organizations and initiatives with under-served communities. Universities and athletic directors across the United States (from Morehouse and other HBCU institutions to the University of Washington to Harvard, Yale, and Princeton) are all hosting events with Arshay.

Co-sponsored by the Athletic Department, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), AIA. Open to the public. All are welcome.

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