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Sports Connections: Annual NCAA Workshop Encouraging Student-Athletes to "Step-Up!"

Sports Connections: Annual NCAA Workshop Encouraging Student-Athletes to "Step-Up!"

When it comes to life on campus, Chestnut Hill College student-athletes are always ready to be leaders and step up to the plate in order to help create a positive impact and college experience for all of their peers.

Griffins at APPLE Conference (1/12/17), L to R: Devan Martinez, Samantha Gelfan, Peyton Reno, and Kevin Clancy

Such was the case in mid-January, as Devan Martinez ’17 (men’s lacrosse), Peyton Reno ’18 (women’s volleyball), Samantha Gelfan ’18 (women’s volleyball) and Kevin Clancy ’19 (sprint football), attended the 27th Annual NCAA Apple Training Institute (ATI) in Charlottesville, Va. 

The four student-athletes, as well as Jessica Day ’09, associate director of athletics for academic success and community engagement, and Krista Murphy, Ph.D., dean of student life, were joined at the ATI by student-athletes and administrators representing 76 NCAA member schools throughout the country as everyone came together to discuss the importance of bystander intervention, mindfulness, recruiting practices, substance abuse and more.

"The APPLE Training Institute provides student-athletes resources and tools to promote good decision-making on campuses across the nation,” says Day. “It is a great opportunity for students to interact from across all the NCAA divisions and discuss issues they see on campus and how their schools address those concerns. In my experience, our student-athletes leave the conference more mindful and more aware of their ability to create change."

Focused on seven pillars known as “APPLE slices,” the APPLE Training Institute (formerly the APPLE Conference) was founded in 1991 by the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the University of Virginia. Since then, it has served as the nation’s leading training symposium for substance abuse prevention and health promotion.

The pillars cover a spectrum of issues as they relate to student-athletes and substance use, including expectations and attitudes, policies, education, drug testing, sanctioning, referrals and counseling, and recruitment. Through these pillars, the goal of the ATI is to assist colleges and universities by empowering teams of student-athletes and administrators to create an institution-specific action plan.

This year, that action plan centered on the Step-Up! Bystander Intervention program, which was created as part of a joint partnership between the University of Arizona C.A.T.S. Life Skills Program and the NCAA. The goal is to develop a “see something, say something” mindset as well as to educate individuals on the importance of being proactive and not reactive, when it comes to helping others in potentially dangerous situations involving alcohol and drug abuse, depression, sexual abuse and assault, and other social concerns that impact college campuses and young adults. 

Having worked with the Step-Up! Program before at CHC, the Griffins came away from the institute with the goal of establishing a Student-Athlete Symposium, to cultivate student-athletes as active members of social initiatives and unite them as a body for change on campus.

"This experience gave me a lot to think about," Gelfan says. "In college, we see and experience a lot of sticky situations that make us question our safety and sometimes, our own morals. This event made it clear that what we experience is not uncommon and that we, as student-athletes, can have a huge impact, not only on our own team, but on our campus as well."

- Marilee Gallagher '14 

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Posted In: Athletics News