ST. F.X. student wins on and off the court

Aliyah Fraser earns Student Athlete Community Service Award




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ASt. Francis Xavier University basketball player earned this year’s AUS Student Athlete Community Service Award for her amazing feats on and off the court. Last month, Aliyah Fraser accepted the Atlantic University Sport’s top service award given out to those making outstanding contributions to the community through volunteerism and dedication. “I was really surprised to receive it,” says Fraser. “I was not expecting to win any award this year, so I was definitely pleasantly surprised and I was really looking forward to receiving it once I found out.” Fraser notes she was especially humbled by the win when she learned she was also the first X-woman player to be honoured with the award. “I didn’t know until after the fact when I went online to see the previous recipients which makes it even cooler,” adds Fraser, adding she was familiar with some of the previous names as a fan growing up, including one of her high school coaches, 2015 winner, Aprille Deus. “It was just a really full circle moment to see that she had won it during her playing days at Acadia.” With the award, Fraser also became the AUS nominee for the U SPORTS Sylvia Sweeney Award, a national prize named in honour of a former player who excelled at three post-secondary institutions and played for three Olympic squads. A fourth-year student at St. Francis Xavier University, Fraser completed the 2022-23 regular season with an average of 12.3 points per game, a 75.4 free-throw percentage and a 40.2 percentage for baskets made from behind the threepoint line. While those statistics are impressive on their own, the biomedical science major is especially notable for what she does off the court. An ambitious advocate for community initiatives, Fraser continues to contribute immeasurably to volunteer efforts. Among her accomplishments are serving as a volunteer with ST. F.X.’S BLACC Society, as the diversity representative on the Student Athlete Advisory Council and as the student athlete representative on the university’s Racial Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Perhaps most notably, she founded the ST. F.X. BIPOC Varsity Association after she researched and discovered racialized student athletes didn’t feel comfortable in varsity athletics due to lack of cultural competency. “(It) is essentially a group that does things in the community for those racialized groups,” says Fraser, noting they have mentored youth and held book drives for local high schools. “We also created the inaugural Black history dinner at ST. F.X. and gave free tickets to all racialized student athletes or any student athlete who wanted to participate and that event was a really big hit.” Now that Fraser has certainly made an impression at ST. F.X. and in the community, she is planning her next move and considering universities to study for her master’s degree in public health and epidemiology. “It kind of changes every day as far as what I want to do,” laughs Fraser, who adds that no matter where she winds up, she has thoroughly valued her time in Antigonish. “I just love all the people I’ve met,” says Fraser. “I’ve really grown since I came to ST. F.X. and I’ve gained so many opportunities through research and through sport and I just feel like ST. F.X. has provided a really great foundation to have success in the future.”