Senior Adam Fishman brings his zest for helping others to the role of Jaeger Civic Intern this Fall
Taken from Dartmouth Peak Performance Magazine, Fall 2014
With its quaint downtown shops, neat neighborhoods and abundant natural beauty, Hanover is often referred to as the “quintessential New England college town.” Factor in low unemployment, safe streets and a major medical center nearby and it is easy to understand why Hanover has been recognized by national media outlets as being one of the best places in the country to live.
It is just as easy for Dartmouth students to be lulled into believing their Shangri-La on the Connecticut is representative of the entire Upper Valley region.
Senior lacrosse attackman Adam Fishman of Phoenix, Ariz., knows better.
As a sophomore Fishman took a class called Poverty and Public Policy that exposed him to the work of the Upper Valley Haven, “a non-profit, private organization that serves people struggling with poverty by providing food, shelter, education, clothing and support.” Fishman’s class offered a glimpse outside the Dartmouth bubble at the the work of the Haven, which in fiscal year 2014 provided food for 3,655 Upper Valley households and provided shelter for 42 families with children as well as 114 more adults.
“The Haven offers a life development course that provides useful tools for people who want to get things together,” Fishman explained. “For our class we interviewed a number of individuals who had spent time at the Haven who had done the program, and looked at ways to improve it.
“It was a chance to speak with people who had a different vantage point, one that you don’t normally get to encounter at Dartmouth. It was very eye-opening.”
Fishman’s appreciation for the very real challenges facing some residents of the Upper Valley and his interest in enlisting fellow Big Green athletes in efforts to make a difference in the lives of others has led to him being selected as Dartmouth’s latest Jaeger Civic Intern.
The Jaeger Civic Internship program, which operates in conjunction with Dartmouth’s Tucker Foundation, honors the legacy of Richard “Dick” Jaeger ’59, the former director of admissions who served as the college’s athletic director from 1989-2002. Jaeger continues to be an active volunteer in the Upper Valley, an interest that began long before his retirement as AD.
Fishman succeeds cross country skier Natalie Flowers in the Jaeger role, and Athletic Director Harry Sheehy believes he was an inspired choice.
“It is all about the quality of the person that we get in that position because kids are different,” Sheehy said. “I think Adam will be terrific there. He was very invested in improving the culture of the lacrosse team. He has a heart for service, so I think it is a great spot for him.”
Fishman was selected this spring as a finalist for the Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero Award, presented to one men’s and one women’s Division I lacrosse player each year. He was chosen for being, “at the forefront of Dartmouth Lacrosse’s community service efforts, helping lead the team to over 300 hours of service this past year through an organized service trip to Nicaragua, a weekly volunteer program at David’s House, a Scoop for Loot fundraiser for Lacrosse the Nations, and more.”
Fishman, who has been a volunteer cabin counselor at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, had his volunteer spirit nurtured at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix.
“They try to turn out not just academics, but well-rounded individuals, and service plays a huge part of that,” he said. “It is called being, ‘A Man for Others.’ Service plays a huge part of that.
“Every junior does a service project that takes up an entire semester. Freshman and sophomore year you have service projects as well. Your senior year it culminates with a seminar-like class where you reflect on it all, what type of person you will be after after Brophy, and the lessons that you have learned there.”
Because scheduling conflicts kept Fishman from being able to make a service trip to El Salvador while he was at Brophy he has been particularly excited about opportunities that have come his way at Dartmouth, including one when he joined with teammates to help build a house in an impoverished Nicaraguan village, and to bring the joy of lacrosse to the children of the community.
“Through the ‘D Plan’ I was able to marry service with Spanish, lacrosse and education, all interests of mine,” he said. “That started at Brophy with wanting to participate in something like that, but Dartmouth really provided the opportunity.”
Last fall Fishman was program and activities coordinator for Lacrosse the Nations in Costa Rica, helping shape the organization’s involvement in the country.
Locally he has taken part in the Indian River Mentoring Program in a school system near Hanover, helped out with Special Olympics, volunteered at David’s House (the Lebanon facility that provides a home for families with children at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center), bicycled 100 miles twice in the Prouty cancer fund raiser and more. As the program chair for his fraternity he is charged with organizing service events in the area.
As the Jaeger Civic Intern, he hopes to personalize the volunteer efforts of Dartmouth athletes.
“There can be a trend of cookie-cutter community service where you go and do something and feel accomplished because you did something for someone else,” he said. “But there can be a lack of engagement there.
“This summer men’s basketball and women’s soccer every Monday are going to Kendal, the retirement community, and they are not just doing stuff for residents but they are doing stuff with residents and sharing experiences.. We are trying to move away from just reeling off hours of service, and trying to make it a meaningful experience.”
In addition to working to develop the volunteer programs at Dartmouth, Fishman has played an important role in helping improve the image of lacrosse both nationally, and on the Dartmouth campus.
In the 2012-13 school year, “We had more rules violations than I would want to say,” he admitted. “This year we completely eliminated them, which is remarkable. I really think that the group has bought in. The direction is great, and I think the class of leaders we have is off the charts.
“There’s a coaching change and that is outside our control, but I am very confident in the leadership and direction of the program. The group is very, very bought in.”
Fishman is hopeful that after a difficult year – for the team and personally – brighter days are ahead.
As a sophomore, the former Arizona all-state player who did a prep year at Lawrenceville enjoyed a productive season. He poured in 11 goals and added 10 assists to finish second on the team with 21 points.
The spring of 2014 wasn’t as much fun.
“Junior year was very tough, aside from wins and losses because injuries consumed my entire season,” he said. “Right before we came back for the winter term I pulled my hamstring pretty badly, which ended up putting me out for the first half of the season. Then I came back and played in one game and got injured during practice, which put me back into the whole rehab routine.”
Fishman ended up playing in just one game as a junior although he showed the difference he might have been able to make by scoring two goals and adding an assist in a midseason loss to Cornell before going back on the shelf.
“I had to find my role in other ways, which ended up getting me very involved with service on the team,” he said. “I was trying to find ways to better our program and ways that I could have an impact without being on the field. I would have loved to help us win more games, but I tried to have an impact in ways that I could while rehabbing, even if that was pretty limited.”
Finally healthy, Fishman is excited about the opportunity to make a difference on the field. At the same time he values the opportunity to help Big Green athletes make a difference in the lives of others.
His dream is to tap the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee – an organization that includes representatives for each varsity team – to spread awareness of, and grow opportunities for service. As the Jaeger intern, Fishman sits on the SAAC executive board, which he thinks will give him a bully pulpit to push for service.
“Harry Sheehy always talks about comprehensive excellence and it starts with DP2, which does so much to put our athletes in position to be successful on and off the field,” Fishman said. “I think the SAAC is an awesome bridge between each team and DP2. In addition to helping us improve the individual programs it can be a network for service. I am very excited about the prospect of SAAC reps being able to have an influence on teams and help Dartmouth stand out.
“Every school has great athletics, and every school in the Ivy League has great academics, but something that really sets Dartmouth apart is we are in a community that is kind in the middle of nowhere. It provides a unique opportunity to engage with the community around us and I think service can be the tool to do that.”
Adam Fishman’s recruiting visit to Dartmouth was made possible by the generosity of Eugene Carver ’50 and the Class of 1949 through the Athletic Sponsor Program.