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WVWC representatives attend Athletic Prevention Programming and Leadership Conference

BUCKHANNON, West Virginia – A team from West Virginia Wesleyan College recently attended the Division II Athlete Prevention Programming and Leadership Education Institute in Orlando, Florida and are implementing initiatives to bring awareness to student-athlete supports on campus.

West Virginia Wesleyan College was selected by the Mountain East Conference to attend the APPLE Institute where they spent three days attending workshops and forming a student-led campus action plan to implement when they returned to campus.

Jackie Hinton, Director of Compliance; Shauna Jones, Director of the Center for Counseling and Well-Being; Dr. Theresa Black, Associate Professor of Nursing; and student-athletes Sneha Sundaraneedi ’27, of India, and Erik Rostoen ’26, of Norway attended a variety of workshops covering culture of care, vaping, supplements, hazing prevention, consent, strengthening the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and other topics.

Rostoen, a member of the men’s soccer team and exercise science major, said the workshops provided a lot of knowledge about student-athletes and drug use including “how little you need to consume to start having negative effects.”

The NCAA’s Sports Science Institute funds the APPLE Institute and 27 schools and approximately 200 participants attended the DII APPLE Institute conference.

Sundaraneedi, a physics major and member of both the women’s tennis team and WVWC’s SAAC, said, “We talked a lot about hazing, consent and sexual assault and how alcohol plays a role.” 

She said partnering with the SAAC makes sense as the conference offered ideas on promotion of events and initiatives from interactive posters to sidewalk chalk messages, social media posts and more. 

Rostoen and Sundaraneedi will complete an internship to earn credit for implementing the plan in the 2024-2025 academic year and more students will join each year to provide continuity.

One of the first initiatives the team wants to tackle is already in place at other institutions. They want to create a medical amnesty policy in which student-athletes can ask for help for addiction recovery without being penalized, which will put students on a path to recovery and support and allow them to stay in school.

Jones said, “We don’t feel our student-athletes need to choose between recovery and education.” 

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