​AGEC student finds place with Purdue’s Cheer leading team and Universal Cheerleading Association

Written by Kendell Combs, Junior, Agribusiness Management & Agricultural Communication

Evan Long (Senior; Agricultural Economics; Cicero, IN) grew up playing football, baseball, and wrestling. He was a ten-year member in 4-H and always had an interest in agriculture. Throughout his young life, he never would have imagined that he might become a college cheerleader. Evan said that truthfully it was the last thing on his radar, but life had a different plan for him and he became a member of the Purdue University Cheerleading team and an instructor for Universal Cheerleading Association (UCA). “Being a part of college cheerleading has provided me with some incredibly unique opportunities over the past four years that I certainly would not have experienced otherwise.” Throughout his collegiate career, cheerleading has taken him across the country multiple times and taught him countless lessons that he will cherish for life.

Balancing a full-time class schedule, game day practices, games for four different sports along with the competitive practice schedule has really pushed Evan to improve his time management and organization skills. He has experienced some growing pains through this process, with many of those lessons having learned the hard way, but he attributes his successes to the large amount of support he has been given here at Purdue. “With the incredible resources I have access to through our academic advisors in the Agricultural Economics department and the incredible team of tutors and academic advisors within the athletic department, I was able to move past these challenges and become a better student in the process.”

Cheerleading is unique as it is one of very few athletic environments where males and females work together as teammates. Evan said that while many people immediately think of the positive outcomes of that scenario, people typically fail to consider the complications that can be involved. The first lesson he learned from this was that he had to communicate much differently with his female teammates compared to the way he had communicated with his male teammates in the past. “Working with teammates of such different backgrounds and communication styles has helped to develop my ability to communicate effectively with an incredibly diverse group of people.”

Evan has traveled to some amazing places such as Santa Barbara, CA, Austin, TX, and Disney World on multiple occasions. His favorite trip so far was Boston. He had the incredible opportunity to catch up with friends in a city with amazing food and history. Whenever Evan is traveling for UCA or Purdue, it is not unusual for him to have a free day to explore. “Taking advantage of these opportunities with my close friends has created memories that will last a lifetime and allowed me to establish a group of friends that spans the entire United States.”

While Evan’s schedule is hectic being involved with UCA, college cheerleading and the Agricultural Economics program, they have given him an unparalleled college experience where he has grown and learned not only about topics related to his major, but also about how to make decisions as an adult and persevere despite failure. Looking forward, Evan is excited to continue learning and using the resources Purdue University has provided him with wherever life takes him next.

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