Go Mustangs!
SMU Student-Athletes Attend APPLE Conference

Go smu! Football Student-Athlete Cameron Smith
Go smu!
Football Student-Athlete Cameron Smith
Go smu!

Jan. 21, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) -- Four SMU student-athletes and two staff members traveled to Charlottesville, Va., this past weekend to attend the 23rd annual APPLE conference. Hanna Axene (rowing), Julianne Scheidler (volleyball), Anthony Jeffries (men's soccer), Cameron Smith (football), Josh Stevens (Associate Athletic Trainer) and Allison Singleton (Director of Life Skills) joined over 220 student-athletes, athletic trainers, coaches and administrators representing 40 NCAA-member schools. The event helped student-athletes create substance-abuse prevention plans specific to their institutions, and trained them to implement these plans.

The Apple Conference was developed by the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the University of Virginia and provides a comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention and health promotion. Throughout the weekend the student-athletes learned about the APPLE model, which address seven "slices" in which the athletic department can impact the campus' health and well-being: departmental expectations and attitudes, education, alcohol and other drug policies, drug testing, sanctions, recruitment practices, and referral and counseling services. The conference also stressed the importance of peer mentoring and the use of motivational interviewing to help student-athletes make wise choices and accomplish their goals on and off the field.

"They approached all substance-abuse related issues with a very realistic and reasonable approach," Cameron Smith said. "They really helped steer us in creating workable plans to implement back on campus."

Beginning with a welcome from U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan, the conference featured key note speakers, breakout sessions, panel discussions and group activities. Topics addressed included alcohol, marijuana and performance-enhancing drugs, hazing, sexual health, bystander intervention, peer education and effective prevention programming. During the conference, the SMU student-athletes had team meetings to discuss how to actively prevent substance abuse on their campus. The student-athletes were able to effectively discuss and critique current policies and decide on a comprehensive plan. At the end of the conference, each institution was required to submit an action plan outlining what they would do once they returned to their campuses.

"I enjoyed hearing the APPLE teams from other institutions speak about their projects and initiatives and I really enjoyed meeting student-athletes from different institutions," stated Julianne Scheidler.

The SMU APPLE team decided that their action plan would focus on the educational slice of the APPLE model. Armed with the valuable experience gained from the conference, the SMU APPLE team is looking forward to implementing their plan and impacting the student-athlete community.