When the Mac football team is on the road, head coach Tony Jennison starts game days with breakfast, long before most players are awake. But early one morning last fall when Jennison entered the lobby, he found team captain Forest Redlin ’17 (Tempe, Ariz.) already there, conducting business on his phone. 

Jennison wasn’t surprised by Redlin’s juggling act. “When we recruited Forest, we knew he was special,” he says. “There are some people who will be successful no matter what they do, and Forest is one of those people. He makes a daily impact on our program.”

A two-time All-Conference football player in the Midwest Conference, Redlin is a member of the team that finished 7-3 last fall and won the conference championship in 2014. He’s also part of a trio of captains—and a broader group of seniors—who thought carefully about the tone they wanted to set for their teammates.

Before fall camp began, the captains invited the other seniors together to draft a list of goals for their final season—80 percent of which had nothing to do with stats or scores. Instead, they focused on building a culture of respect, making first-year players feel welcome, and holding each other accountable.

During the season, the seniors organized a presentation on the Green Dot bystander [violence prevention] strategy and produced two videos—one of which has had more than 25,000 views—taking a stand against sexual violence. Redlin is also campus ambassador for Team IMPACT, which matches college sports teams with children suffering from serious medical conditions.

Outside football, the economics major has taken advantage of a wide range of opportunities. He has traveled internationally four times with Mac programs, including attending the COP21 climate summit in Paris with his environmental studies class and serving as a student representative for a faculty development seminar in Copenhagen. Even more formative, he says, was his summer internship with the American Refugee Committee, during which he did two weeks of interviews and research at a Rwandan refugee camp.

Although the football season ended with a disappointing loss to St. Norbert College, Redlin and his fellow seniors didn’t consider it a failure by any means. As they reflected on the season, they revisited the goals they’d drawn up back in August. “We knew that if we achieved these outcomes, we would have had a meaningful season,” says Redlin. “When we looked at the list, we realized we had done everything we wanted to do.”

January 10 2017

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