LEXINGTON, Va. – Washington and Lee Athletic Director Jan Hathorn has announced the rededication of the school’s Student-Athlete Mentor (SAMS) group as an organization known simply as “23”. The organization’s motto is “Many sports, one team.”
The group “23”, whose name comes from the number of varsity athletic teams sponsored by the University, has a mission to be a student-run organization committed to creating and promoting a united community of student-athletes.
The organization’s goals are to develop and strengthen a sense of responsibility and wellness through risk reduction and bystander intervention. In an effort to create a safer social environment for student-athletes at Washington and Lee, “23” strives to address a variety of issues in the campus community, including substance abuse, sexual misconduct, nutrition and stress management.
Junior lacrosse player Lauren Acker serves as the student chair of “23” and strives to carry out the group’s mission on campus.
“Being a student-athlete at W&L is something that I am very proud of -- it is a very important aspect of my identity on campus,” said Acker. “I am passionate about “23” and its mission because I believe it has the potential to greatly enhance a student-athlete's experience at W&L. Our inspiration stemmed from the fact that we have 23 varsity sports on campus, yet there is little interaction and camaraderie amongst these sports. I feel that as student-athletes, we must all look out for each other, just as we would a teammate. It is important to transcend our teams' boundaries to build an even larger support base as we pursue our athletic and academic goals at W&L.”
The idea for the rededication was born when Hathorn and Associate Athletic Director Shana Levine attended the APPLE Conference at the University of Virginia last January. The APPLE Conference offers teams of student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, administrators, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) prevention specialists an opportunity to evaluate the ATOD environment within their athletics departments, and to develop a specific action plan to enhance prevention efforts. After attending the conference, Hathorn and Levine began devising a way to re-energize the SAMS in order to achieve the mission for what has become “23”.
“At the Apple Conference last year, it became apparent that our student-athlete leaders have been seeking a new way to articulate their pride as an athlete, individually and collectively, on campus,” noted Hathorn. “Specifically, they wanted to become a more unified group, and they felt that focusing on bystander behavior would be a great stepping stone towards expressing their care, concert and support of one another. I am very pleased and proud of the efforts of ‘23’ and the work they have already accomplished. If the dedication and spirit that has been demonstrated so far continues, this organization is well on its way to creating a new spirit of unity among our student-athletes on campus.”
Already, “23” has organized the first-ever student-athlete picnic (Sept. 19) and they have printed T-Shirts intended to identify athletes as a group on campus. The group intends on continuing their mission throughout the school year in order to provide a sense of unity among the school’s teams and athletes.
For more information about “23” and it’s goals, you can contact the organizations leadership listed below:
Lauren Acker ‘12
Brad Harder '12
J.D. Englehart '11
Taylor Maxey '13
Volleyball/Track & Field
Trelsie Sadler '12
Christina Benedetti '12
Field Hockey/Women's Lacrosse
Head Women’s Swimming Coach
Associate Athletic Trainer
Assistant Football Coach