BRISTOL, Tenn. – Last month three King University student-athletes Arielle Hollow of the women's basketball team, Justin Barnett of the men's basketball program and Alexia Autrey of the women's swimming team attended the NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Super Region Convention in Orlando, Fla.
Autrey was in attendance with her position as the Conference Carolinas representative on the national SAAC.
"Being able to be part of the SAAC Super Region this year was incredible," said Autrey. "As the Conference Carolinas representative to National SAAC, I saw a different side than the others. We worked and facilitated throughout the event. I enjoyed seeing the student-athletes grow throughout the weekend."
During the weekend the student-athletes met as a whole to learn about different initiatives that were important to the DII National SAAC. They also broke out into smaller groups by conference to work on Student-Athlete Voice and Mental Health Initiatives. The student-athletes representing Conference Carolinas made the decision to work together on conference-wide initiatives rather than school by school projects.
"The D2 SAAC Convention was insightful to say the least," Holloway said. "The speakers and events over the course of the entire weekend found a way to perfectly combine education with empowerment. We learned skills that we can use outside of just sports, and we were able to network and build connections with other people. The convention presented opportunities for athletes to step out of their comfort zones and try new things as well. It was inspirational, motivational, and overall amazing. Would definitely recommend to any athlete."
For the student-athlete voice, they chose to create Conference Carolinas Instagram and Twitter accounts that will be monitored by an administrator and run by SAAC presidents. They will use these accounts to help build pride and support for their games throughout the conference during the year.
On the Mental Health initiative, they chose to create a conference-wide campaign based around October 10th and World Mental Health Awareness Day. There will be activities throughout that week at all the conference schools. They want to have #NotAlone added to the conference t-shirts in green (mental health color) so that athletes can wear them that week as part of the campaign. They are also planning a video challenge to share experiences, coping methods using stigma-free language and focus on good things.