Women's Rowing's Ashley Rooney Recaps APPLE Conference
Feb. 5, 2013
In 2011, Bucknell received an NCAA CHOICES grant, which was earmarked toward a student-led pilot program that engages student-athletes and others in providing education on alcohol abuse and alternative programming on campus.
As part of that CHOICES program, three student-athletes were selected to attend the APPLE Conference in Indianapolis the final weekend in January. Baseball pitcher Jack McLinden, women's rower Ashley Rooney and field hockey/track & field standout Tayler Siegrist represented Bucknell at the seminar along with Alex Robles, assistant director of athletics for NCAA compliance and student services.
Below is Ashley Rooney's recap of the productive conference and how the Bison representatives plan on using the knowledge they gained to make Bucknell a better place.
Last year Bucknell University Athletics was awarded the NCAA CHOICES grant, which is a three-year grant aimed to reduce student-athlete substance abuse. With this grant, Bucknell recently sent three student-athletes to the APPLE (Athletic Prevention and Leadership Education) Conference, which is a conference that focuses on the promotion of student-athlete wellness and substance abuse prevention. The goal of the conference is threefold: to educate, empower, and support teams in preventing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and abuse. The APPLE model consists of seven areas for which these goals are particularly applicable: recruitment, expectations and attitudes, education, policies, drug testing, sanctioning, and referral and counseling.
Baseball’s Jack McLinden, field hockey and track & field’s Taylor Siegrist, and assistant director of athletics for NCAA compliance and student services Alex Robles, in addition to myself, had the honor of attending this year’s conference and comprising Bucknell’s APPLE team. At the conference, we learned about the ways in which student-athletes have positively impacted the drinking cultures at their respective universities via social marketing campaigns and by providing educational and alcohol-free programming for their student-bodies.
The structure of the conference allowed for us as a team to enhance our knowledge of issues relating to substance (especially, but not exclusively alcohol) use and abuse and to engage in meaningful dialogue regarding the drinking culture of Bucknell’s students and student-athletes. Recognizing that student-athletes comprise 25 percent of Bucknell’s student-body population, student-athletes, as a significant portion of said population and as leaders on campus, have a unique opportunity to effect change for the betterment of Bucknell.
As a team, we attended breakout sessions on sexual assault, hazing, marijuana use, dietary supplements, the positive impact that men can have in mentoring athletes, prevention programming, motivational interviewing, and Step UP!, a bystander intervention program on which Jack and myself have been adapting and developing for Bucknell. From each of these sessions, we gained valuable insight into the ways in which we can effect change on campus.
Beyond the three-day conference, our APPLE team is responsible for creating and implementing a plan of action that seeks to reduce high-risk drinking behavior at Bucknell. After listening to engaging speakers, including other NCAA student-athletes and experts in the fields of wellness and substance abuse prevention, and after closely considering the ways in which Bucknell conforms and does not conform to APPLE standards, we have gained the knowledge and tools to implement some of our own ideas on Bucknell’s campus in order to benefit not only the student-athlete community but also the great student body.
Specifically, Bucknell’s APPLE team is looking to improve Bucknell’s standards in relation to education and expectations and attitudes toward high-risk consumption of alcohol. We are looking to accomplish this via innovative and effective educational social marketing projects among other means. Approximately one week after the conference, our team presented a detailed plan of action to Maisha Kelly, Bucknell’s senior associate director of athletics, and are planning to present our ideas to other administrative figures on campus so we may effectively execute our plan for a better Bucknell.
More information on the conference can be found by clicking here.