When you unexpectedly suck at baseball, and your parents put you in lacrosse, you can either roll with it or resist it. Alex Coco, a senior representative of ASWC, did roll, but he also rocked it in his own way. That is what Coco does; he takes what comes into his life and gives it his all. As Coco put it, “I do things at a very high volume… You’re either all in with me or not with me.” Now, he is the captain of the men’s lacrosse team, which starts in the spring each year and finished 8-5 in the 2022 season.
In the Fall of 2020, or as Coco called it, “the COVID year,” he joined Senate as the male Poet Student-Athlete Leadership Academy (PSALA) representative, making this year his third in Senate. He has also been on the budget committee for the past three years, the student advocacy committee for a year, and the environmental committee for a year. So, you could say that Coco is a well-rounded and active ASWC representative.
This is not a shocker as Coco has a proactive role in his college career and wants to make the most of its time. Coco welcomes the opportunity to work with the school’s administration, and other departments on campus to “get stuff done!” A big goal of Coco’s is to “make Whittier a better place for all the freshmen, sophomores, and juniors” and make sure they have opportunities to have a greater college experience.
Coco’s involvement with ASWC and PSALA brings together his passion for student life and lacrosse. PSALA is an athletic leadership organization on campus that assists student-athletes with personal growth in order for them to be “champions for life.” Also, says Coco, it is a positive environment that is “embed- ded in the fundamentals of leadership and community,” Community is an aspect at Whittier that Coco is highly passionate about especially within the student-athlete community on campus.
This is why he joined PSALA in the first place. He wanted to be in as much “control of [his] college experience as [he] could be” and make sure that his experience goes “as well as possible.”
Since joining PSALA, he has helped throw events such as a Homecoming tailgate up on the grass field, and a lot of small events at the WC’s teams’ sporting games. For example, during a volleyball game, PSALA handed out pink bracelets and small pink volleyballs to support breast cancer awareness; they even did a water balloon toss that included giveaways. These events were created in order to bring the “community together,” not just student-athletes, but students and staff as well.
In the next couple of years, Coco hopes that PSALA brings together both students and student-athletes by “laying the groundwork” for future PSALA members so they don’t have to jump through hoops like he did in order to be involved in their college experience. “My hope is that in the next three or four years [that] there are more kids involved in the school that is student-athletes,” Coco says, with characteristic intensity.
Having been in athletics all his life, he sympathizes with the struggle to balancing- ing work-life and sports. Coco has played for almost four years at Whittier College, making it almost 15 years now that he has been playing lacrosse. It is his form of “escape from school” and has been “a very good outlet to be healthy and workout as well.”
As a student-athlete, he wants other athletes to know that they have the options to mold their college careers and that is something he wants to educate other athletes on. “Most things in the athletic department… [are on] a very team-by-team basis, what I want to change is to give that perspective to all student-athletes … give them the perspective and try to help them understand that if they want to accomplish something there are steps that can be taken to accomplish whatever their goal is.”
Being at Whittier College has shaped Coco into the person he is today. Through all the adversity of having his freshman year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and having a whole year online his sophomore year, he accomplished a lot. Last year he earned the 2021 Emerging Leader award and even got the male senator of the year award for the 2020- 2021 school year. “I’ve gone through adversity but it helped prepare me to enter a post-academic world a lot better,” Coco explained when asked about his post-academic career.
Post graduation, Coco will be getting a master’s in Business and Management at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, and will be playing lacrosse there.
Eventually, he wants to end up in dental school after pursuing his master’s and becoming an orthodontist. “The dream is to ask a question, put my hands in their mouth so they can’t answer,” Coco jokes, beaming with eagerness as he describes his future plans.
Photo Courtesy of Jin Peavey