Garrett Robinson

Class of 2019

California native Garrett Robinson came to Brown to play football. He’s leaving with a whole new perspective on sports, masculinity, urban development and social justice.

 Garrett Robinson loves being a Brown Bears running back — the tight-knit teammates, the cheering crowds, the Ivy League traditions — but that’s not all he came to love about Brown.

Because of Brown’s Open Curriculum and numerous extracurricular opportunities, Garrett has never run out of new ways to combine his love of football with other meaningful academic interests and activities.

Like every Brown Bears team, Garrett’s football team was paired with a class at a local elementary school. He and his teammates visited weekly to play with kids at recess or help out in the classroom. On those days, he notes, the kids lit up and got really excited to see them.

“It makes you feel good that you can have that much of an impact on a group of kids just from taking an hour out of your day to spend some time and get to know them.”

His experience at the school shaped his time at Brown, and gained him high praise. At this year’s football team banquet, he was awarded the Chris Perry Community Service Award.

“It made me realize and appreciate my ability to impact people's lives,” Garrett says. “It humbled me and proved to me time and time again that there is a world beyond the classroom and football field.”

It wasn’t long before Garrett realized he could influence real change on campus, too. Working on a Group Independent Study Project, Garrett contributed to the creation of a masculinity peer education curriculum. The program is used by campus groups to facilitate conversations around gender stereotypes and empathy, fostering healthy athletes in mind and body.

In the winter of his senior year, Garret won a Royce Fellow grant to intern with the City of Inglewood, California, a predominantly black and brown working-class city undergoing a massive wave of development, including an NFL stadium, three new Metro stations and an NBA arena. As part of his honors thesis, Garrett is researching the extent to which Inglewood could become gentrified, and what the city's rapid development means for the future of urban spaces around the globe. When he’s finished, he’ll present his findings to top city officials.

Garrett came to Brown an athlete; he’s leaving a mentor, a scholar and a change agent with a bright future ahead.