March 15, 2001
Probably my favorite part of working in college athletics is the interaction I have with student-athletes. It is such a wonderful thing to be able to share in the highs and lows of their college experience.
Athletics is a major component in Santa Clara University's tradition of educating the whole person for a life of service and leadership. The institution places a major emphasis on its dedication to educating students for competence, conscience and compassion.
That's why I am excited to share with you a few of the initiatives our athletic department has put into place in the area of student-athlete welfare.
Earlier this month, we presented our student-athletes, coaches and staff with an opportunity to attend a 90-minute presentation by Mike Green, one of the country's most dynamic speakers on the dangers of substance use. Mike's sessions focused on the real-life consequences of various lifestyle choices using alcohol and drugs. In particular, he related a number of examples of college and professional athletes and how their decisions in life affect their teammates, families, the general public and, most importantly, their futures.
We conducted two sessions. The first included only coaches and athletic department staff members. The second session was held in the Leavey Center and was attended solely by student-athletes. Without the coaches and athletic staff present, Mike creates an attention-grabbing environment that really has quite an impact on the student-athletes.
Throughout the year, our teams participate in a number of community outreach projects. This year over 100 Bronco student-athletes have visited area elementary and middle schools as part of the Read to Exceed program. We also had several female student-athletes speak to a local elementary school as part of national Women and Girls in Sports Day. Our tennis teams are in the middle of planning a Youth Tennis Advantage program. This program will provide an opportunity for underprivileged youth to access the Santa Clara Tennis Center and learn the sport of tennis from coaches and players.
We are focusing a continuing effort to revitalize the Student Athlete Leadership Council (SALC). Exactly as the name implies, this group of leaders, which includes one representative from each athletic team, provides feedback and suggestions that will help shape the policies that affect their experience as student-athletes here at Santa Clara. There are several exciting initiatives planned for the future and this group will be a part of moving our broad-based athletics program to national prominence.
Last, but certainly not least, we are proud of our involvement in the NCAA's CHAMPS / Life Skills program. The mission of the program is to provide services and support to the NCAA membership, public, and media to develop and enhance the life of the student-athlete through educational programs and resources focusing on gender equity, student-athlete welfare, and life skills. Freshman and sophomore student-athletes are eligible to take a one credit class taught by Santa Clara faculty, coaches and staff that provides direction for the special needs related to their involvement in athletics.
In a nutshell, the CHAMPS program is committed to the following principals:
Commitment to Academic Excellence
To support the academic progress of the student-athlete toward intellectual development and graduation.
Commitment to Athletic Excellence
To build philosophical foundations for the development of athletic programs that are broad-based, equitable and dedicated to the well being of the student-athlete.
Commitment to Personal Development
To support the development of a well-balanced lifestyle for student-athletes, encouraging emotional well being, personal growth and decision-making skills.
Commitment to Career Development
To encourage the student-athlete to develop and pursue career and life goals.
Commitment to Service
To engage the student-athlete in service to his/her campus and surrounding communities.
I really am only scratching the surface with regards to our commitment to student-athlete welfare. Actual competition and sport participation is only one part of the numerous issues facing student-athletes today. I think we are making significant strides towards giving our nearly 400 student-athletes the best possible opportunity to make the most of their experience here at Santa Clara.