Lafayette’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is launching a mental health campaign this fall while they continue to provide a platform for student athletes on campus.
“We’re hoping to increase student athletes awareness of all the resources they have on campus for mental health and also promote the mindset that ‘you don’t have to be sick to get better’ when it comes to mental health because everyone can work on it in some way,” committee chair and senior field hockey midfielder Cameron Costello wrote in an email.
“We’re looking to have each team dedicate one of their games to mental health where we will have social media posts, interview members of the team about what it means to them, and bracelet giveaways for fans to join in on the conversation,” she added.
SAAC is a group of student athletes from most of Lafayette’s Division I teams that works to better student athlete experiences as well as organizing events and giving back to the local community, Costello said. Many of Lafayette’s teams have SAAC representatives who act as a liaison between the team, SAAC and the athletic department.
The movement to increase awareness of the need to give attention to mental health among student athletes started at Oregon State University, according to Costello. She attended a summit convention over the summer organized by the Patriot League and Ivy League. Costello plans to use SAAC to promote this mental health program locally at Lafayette and is looking to partner with other relevant groups to develop the movement.
Every year the NCAA institutes new doctrines guaranteeing designated rest days and a limit to the amount of time a coach can interact with their players. SAAC allows Lafayette’s student athletes to share their opinion on these rules and regulations with the NCAA before the changes are made.
Along with the new self-advocacy movement, SAAC devotes time to help other groups both in and beyond the community. For example, the committee took steps last year to organize various donations and to foster opportunities to connect with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club of Easton.
“Last year the major events we hosted were a study break for student athletes during finals week and we organized two donation drives,” Costello wrote. “The first donation drive was ‘One Shirt One Body’ where we collected shirts to donate to the Easton Boys & Girls Club, and we had SAAC members go hand out the shirts and have a field day with the kids one night. The other donation drive we did collected sneakers to support Michael Anekwe’s foundation.”
Andrew Hollander ’21 contributed reporting.