Feb. 5, 2014
Siena student athletes Katie Nelson (golf), Louis Walsh (golf), and Mackenzie Cronin (softball) attended the 2014 APPLE Conference hosted by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. from January 17-19. Director of Student Athlete Engagement Lori Jancik and Student Athlete Mentors (SAM) Advisor Ellen Howe accompanied the students to the forum.
The APPLE Conference offers teams of student athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, administrators, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) prevention specialists an opportunity to evaluate the ATOD environment within their athletics departments and develop specific actions plan to enhance prevention efforts.
The three-day event included presentations from a variety of speakers as well as breakout sessions with student athletes from schools across the country. Conference presentations covered a variety of topics, ranging from alcohol education to drug use to sexual violence prevention.
"The breakout sessions were very intriguing," Nelson said. "Athletes from a variety of schools across the country attended the conference, and the breakout sessions enhanced the different perspectives from each school. There were some great discussions during those sessions."
This conference was designed for students to understand that student athletes are more susceptible to drug and alcohol abuse, and encourage them to organize programs within their schools to provide education and assistance to their fellow student athletes. Attendees were taught the APPLE Model and its seven components: Recruitment, Expectations and Attitudes, Drug Testing, Sanctioning, Referral and Counseling, Policies and Education. In addition to learning the model, students were also taught how to implement the APPLE Model and develop their own action plans for their own campus.
Susie Bruce, director of the University of Virginia's Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, co-directed the APPLE Conference. Joe Gieck, Professor Emeritus of Sports Medicine at the University of Virginia, also co-directed. Other speakers included staff from the University of Virginia's Gordie Center as well as representatives from other university drug and alcohol awareness programs.
"The speakers and panels were exceptional," Jancik said. "Linda Hancock and Dorothy Edwards, in particular, imparted powerful information with humor and managed to do so without losing the impact of their messages."
This conference is not only designed to inform students about the problems student athletes face with drugs and alcohol, but also to encourage them to evoke change on their own campus.
"The Apple conference was a great experience," Cronin said. "It not only empowers, but more importantly teaches student athletes how to be effective in their communities."
After attending the conference, Walsh, Cronin, and Nelson developed their own action plan for Siena College Athletics to be implemented by the end of the semester with the help of SAM.