Men's tennis star makes time for service and the outdoors

On a break last year from a semester filled with tennis games, Exercise Science classes and service projects, Steve French strapped on a 50-pound backpack and trekked 80 miles across New Mexico.

“Very relaxing, it’s an escape, a chance to unwind,” said French, a junior from New Windsor, Md., of the 14-day trip. And he certainly has much to unwind from.

French is, according to his coach, one of the top players on the McDaniel men’s tennis team, a member of service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega (APO), the Outdoor Club, and the Honor and Conduct Board as well as a teacher and team member at a tennis center in Frederick.

French started college in the western part of the state at Frostburg University but transferred before sophomore year after visiting McDaniel College. He liked the “nicer people and small classes,” and even found that he traveled home less while at McDaniel, a short 10-mile drive from New Windsor.

After his years with the Boy Scouts in high school, French felt it was a natural step to join the service fraternity. As the pledge leader for APO, he helps prospective members get acquainted with the basics of the club and supervises their pledge projects.

One of French’s favorite projects is his work with SERV, a fair-trade organization that sells handmade goods such as food, chocolate, coffee, clothing and jewelry from other countries. The fraternity also does work with Trash Quest and the Bear Branch Nature Center, among others.

Intertwined with all of his activities is his love for the outdoors. Through the Outdoor Club, of which he will be President next year, French participates in backpacking, white-water rafting, bouldering, kayaking, and skiing and snowboarding in the winter.

A professor recommended French for the Honor and Conduct Board. His responsibilities include monthly training sessions and input on the sentencing of disciplinary trials. 

French is not sure what he’d like to do after graduation, but may use his minors in Outdoor Education and Sports Coaching to teach tennis to kids and adults.

At the moment, he’s interviewing to be on the Advisory Board in charge of Peer Mentors and one of the new “Summer Preview Guides” – students who help parents become acquainted with the college and even stay overnight with them on campus in the North Village Apartments. 

--Courtesy of Peggy Fosdick, McDaniel College Office of Communications and Marketing (appeared in Apr. 4 edition of News@McDaniel)

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