Over the past four years, Boston College field hockey has gone through a number of ups and downs. In 2019, the Eagles went 15–8 but lost in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. BC played an abbreviated season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lost in the quarterfinals of the ACC Championship in 2021, and are now the No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament after an 8–9 2022 regular season.
Margo Carlin has been there through it all.
A staple on BC’s roster, Carlin has started 70 of BC’s 72 games over the past four seasons, and in those 70 starts has made quite the impact. Carlin earned ACC Freshman of the Year honors in her freshman campaign, led the team in goals as a sophomore, and is currently the Eagles’ second-leading goal scorer.
But when Carlin laces up her cleats after each game, there’s more than field hockey on her mind. For Carlin, there’s more important things than just wins and losses—she wants to make a difference in the world.
“A world where every young person has a safe place to sleep and the love, respect, and support they deserve,” Carlin said.
After name, image, and likeness (NIL) legislation was passed by the Supreme Court in June 2021, Carlin decided that she would use NIL to focus on working with a charity rather than a brand. Carlin partnered with Covenant House, a charity that provides support services for young people experiencing homelessness and human trafficking.
“They’re in 31 cities across six countries, and basically their comprehensive services go beyond street outreach and short-term housing to include transitional housing, employment services … mental health care, and so much more along those lines,” Carlin said.
While Carlin does have a brand deal with Y1 Hockey, a field hockey stick brand, she said that when she heard of the implementation of NIL, she and her family wanted to use Carlin’s exposure as a student-athlete to help others.
“When I started to really think about [NIL legislation], and I talked about it with my parents, I just felt like I could use it in a way to make a difference in someone’s life,” Carlin said. “I’d rather use it in a way where I can use my platform—even though it might [not be] a huge platform—but use it in a way that I could hopefully help others.”
Carlin’s choice to partner with Covenant House was inspired by her parents’ previous work with the charity, she said. Her parents raised her to have a consciousness toward helping those less fortunate than herself, Carlin said.
“I was born into a family, you know, two loving parents, three amazing older siblings, and I just know that many young people are not as fortunate to have that,” she said. “Covenant House gives them the opportunity to get off the streets and in a safe and loving environment.”
The details of Carlin’s partnership include spreading awareness about Covenant House and its mission through her social media pages, along with a personalized web page through which people can make donations to the organization, she said. Beyond spreading awareness on her own, Carlin said that she speaks with other individuals and companies to encourage them to raise awareness for the charity.
At the time of her interview with The Heights, Carlin had raised $34,221. She said she hopes to reach $40,000 in donations by the end of the season.
Once she graduates from BC this spring, Carlin said she hopes to expand her role within Covenant House. She said once she has more time due to no longer playing field hockey, she will visit Covenant House’s facilities and volunteer onsite, rather than just spread awareness through social media.
For those close to Carlin, her work with Covenant House does not come as a surprise. BC head coach Kelly Doton said Carlin is more impressive off the field than she is on the field.
“It just speaks wonders how awesome of a person Margo is,” Doton said of Carlin’s partnership. “And you know, the achievement that she [has] on the field hockey field isn’t anywhere close to where she is going to go in life.”
Doton said that Carlin’s emphasis on community service reflects the mission of BC as a Jesuit institution.
“The values that Margo grew up with, with their family and her dad was obviously associated with the Covenant House … and she knew she wanted to go to a university that had the same values, and Boston College is that university,” Doton said. “I’m so proud of her and what she’s doing. Giving back to the community is something that we strive for in the field hockey world, and she’s doing it on her own and with her own initiative.”
For Carlin, BC’s values are not something she takes lightly.
“I take the ‘men and women for others’ mission pretty seriously,” she said. “I had the opportunity to meet some of the youth at Covenant House before I did the partnership, and I listened to their stories. It was crazy overwhelming, and what they had to overcome in their lives. So after that visit, I knew I had to help.”
According to Doton, Carlin’s mission to help others has impacted her teammates and has set an example for more student-athletes to use their platform for community service and outreach.
“I think being an athlete in today’s day and age, especially with social media, there’s a lot of opportunity for [one] to voice their opinion and matters and get involved in really any organization that they have just a lot of energy about,” Doton said.
Carlin hopes to see other individuals—especially those with big platforms—become involved with charity organizations. She said she believes that with a unified effort, major changes can be made in the world.
“You can always hope you’re inspiring others with your actions.” Carlin said. “I feel like if we can all come together … we could potentially change the world. … Imagine a world where there’s no homeless or trafficked young people. I mean, it would be amazing.”