Dal Tigers and Community
Anton Berry, Tigers Student-athlete and Community Relations Advisor and Head of Basketball Operations. (Nick Pearce)
Dal Tigers: Community is Core to the Team
For Dalhousie’s Department of Athletics and Recreation, Community Leadership is a core value that inspires every student, team, and staff member.
In 2022, Dal Athletics created a new role to further strengthen the commitment to community leadership and engagement for Anton Berry, who is also the head of basketball operations. Berry leads the development and implementation of proactive equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility initiatives within Dalhousie’s Department of Athletics and Recreation while also guiding the many student-athlete community and volunteer initiatives they contribute an average of more than 4,000 hours to each year.
“There is potential for us to have a tremendous impact in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility through sport and community,” says Berry, “I see community involvement as key to student-athletes having a positive, memorable, and meaningful experience at Dalhousie.”
Chief among those many initiatives is the Special Tigers program. Created in 2012 by track and field athlete Rebecca Haworth, the Tigers host six events each season that partners youth with intellectual disabilities with varsity athletes from Dalhousie University to share their love for sport.
Charities and organizations like the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the IWK Children’s Hospital, Camp Hill Veterans’ Memorial Hospital, Canadian Blood Services, Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project, Black Ice Program, Bonny Lea Farms and Learn to Wheel Easter Seals Nova Scotia have all benefited from the many hours Dalhousie student-athletes have given to raise funds and awareness.
The Tigers have also spent countless hours working as youth mentors through school reading, lunchtime and after-school programs. They have also volunteered with minor sports organizations as coaches and instructors.
Learning soccer skills and having fun at Tigers Soccer Camp. (Nick Pearce)
Dalhousie student-athletes are active on campus, serving on faculty and society boards, volunteering with the Loaded Ladle, the Dalhousie Food Bank and the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative and are very active during Dalhousie Residence Move-In and O-Week events.
The Tigers are making their mark in their respective sports and in the classroom as well. They brought home nine of a possible 16 AUS championship banners during the 2021-22 season and 158 student-athletes (58% of all Tigers varsity student-athletes) earned a GPA of 3.50 of higher to be named a U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian.
The efforts Dalhousie student-athletes have put into their academics, training and community service has not gone unnoticed. The Tigers have received 21 AUS student-athlete community service awards since the 2013-14 season, including three last year. Twelve of those student-athletes went on to receive national recognition.
While the Tigers continue to pursue their own community involvements, Berry has been leading a new partnership with the staff of St. Joseph’s-Alexander MacKay Elementary School since they’ve been displaced to a temporary location while their North End Halifax school is being rebuilt. As they are without a gymnasium, students and staff have been able to use Dalhousie Athletics facilities. Additionally, Athletics and other Dal partners hosted a noon-time event at SJAM which saw athletes and staff handing out lunches to students, while offering outdoor games and other activities.