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Pictured below, left to right: Kaitlin Leach, senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, Padgett Gustavson, first-year defender on the Quakers' men's soccer team, Isabela Lopez, junior midfielder on the women's soccer team, and Cathryn Dickman, director of wellness programs.

Earlham student-athletes attend national conference on leadership in substance abuse prevention

January 25, 2017

Apple ConferenceMembers of the Earlham athletics and wellness departments, including two student-athletes, as well as a member of the Earlham Student Life staff, spent a weekend in Nashville, Tenn., attending the 26th annual APPLE Conference.

Padgett Gustavson, first-year defender on the Quakers' men's soccer team, and Isabela Lopez, junior midfielder on the women's soccer team, represented the Earlham student-athletes. Also on Earlham's APPLE team were: Cathryn Dickman, director of wellness programs and Kaitlin Leach, senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator.

"This was my second time attending the APPLE Conference and I love going back each year." Lopez said, "I knew that it would inform me on alcohol and substance abuse and would help me inform my fellow classmates and teammates."

APPLE (Athletic Prevention Programming and Leadership Education Model) was founded by the University of Virginia (UVA) and UVA's Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention in 1991 and identifies seven areas that athletic departments can impact substance abuse among student-athletes: recruitment, expectations and attitudes, policies, education, drug testing, sanctioning, and referral and counseling.

"I was interested in attending the APPLE conference because up until this conference I had received very little education on alcohol — especially on how alcohol can affect one's athletic performance," Gustavson says.

Since 1992, the NCAA and UVA's Gordie Center have partnered to integrate the APPLE model at minimal cost to NCAA-member institutions through two annual conferences, which have been the leading national training symposiums dedicated to substance abuse prevention and health promotion for student-athletes and athletics department administrators. The goal of the conference is to assist schools in promoting student-athlete health and wellness by empowering teams of student-athletes and administrators to create an institution-specific action plan.

Both students had positive takeaways from the conference. Linda Hancock, the director of the Wellness Resource Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, was the conference's keynote speaker.

"I always enjoy listening to Linda Hancock," Lopez said. "I had the honor of introducing her when she came to speak on Earlham's campus. She is always so funny and engaging."

"Linda had the most impact on me specifically when she spoke about alcohol negatively affecting one's play," Gustavson added.

This year, Earlham's focus is on policy and sanctioning, one of the "slices" of the APPLE program. The team hopes to implement alcohol, tobacco, and other drug expectations and sanctions.

"We always bring back an action plan," Lopez says. "This year's action plan was to make sure that every team has a policy for alcohol and drugs for in- and out-of-season and a consequence if they do not comply," Lopez stated. "We basically want to make sure that everyone is on the same page (coaches and players) about their policy and sanctioning."

"I am ready to help with drafting any policies and be a liaison between student-athletes and administration," Gustavson says. "Hopefully I can help educate some of my peers on the effects of alcohol." 

Earlham has made trips to the APPLE conference in previous years. Last year, the team focused on the education programs "slice" and implemented a new course for upperclass students on life skills and leadership development.

"I am grateful for the support of Earlham's division of student life, providing athletics this opportunity to truly make an impact on our campus and within the athletics culture," Leach says. "The APPLE conference is informational and motivational and creates this excitement for when you return to campus. Our student-athletes have done a fantastic job in making a difference on campus."

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' top institutions for value.

Mitch Blankespoor is director of sports marketing and communications at Earlham College. Blankespoor can be reached at (765) 983-1795 or by e-mail at blankmi@earlham.edu.

 

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