January 24, 2013

Islanders Student-Athletes Represent Department at NCAA APPLE Conference

Three Texas A&M – Corpus Christi student-athletes and Senior Scholastic Coordinator Kayleigh McCauley recently attended the NCAA APPLE Conference, aimed at promoting student-athlete wellness and substance abuse prevention.

“This is the fourth year we have attended the NCAA APPLE conference,” said McCauley. “In that four years we have established and expanded our Islander Athlete Mentor program, forming a partnership with the Islanders Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (I-ADAPT).  It has become an opportunity for students to gain leadership experience and not only learn about the risks of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, but educate their peers on prevention efforts.”

As part of the Islander Athlete Mentor and I-ADAPT programs at the University, Jake Kocher, Cecilia Jones and Cassie Shaw traveled with McCauley to Charlottesville, Va. for the annual conference.

“I went last year and it was fun, but this year I definitely learned so many things and it was a ton of fun,” Jones said. “I feel motivated to help not just student-athletes but all the Texas A&M - Corpus Christi students about how they can experience a safe time in college without getting either addicted or have problems with alcohol or drugs.”

There are seven “slices” of the APPLE Model; education & alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) prevention programs, drug testing, sanctioning, referral & counseling, expectations & attitudes, policies, and recruitment practices.

“It’s important to promote healthy lifestyles and responsibility in order to create a culture of excellence within our athletics department,” said McCauley. “The NCAA’s partnership with the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the University of Virginia have been hosting the APPLE conference successfully for 22 years.  It’s a great opportunity for our students to serve as positive role models among their peers and within our campus community.”

In addition to being active participants at the conference, the Islanders helped others learn as well, with McCauley participating as a panelist for a presentation titled “Strategies for Success after APPLE,” given by Virginia Athletic Director Craig Littlepage.

In all, the conference was a valuable tool for the students and McCauley, with the ability to teach fellow student-athletes the value of what they learned during the upcoming semester.

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