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Acadia Athletics Launches Acadia 4U Program

Acadia Athletics Launches Acadia 4U Program

Acadia Athletics Launches Acadia 4U Program
The student-athlete focused; holistic support program launches January 29th, 2020 in conjunction with Bell Let's Talk Day.

WOLFVILLE, N.S. - Acadia Athletics and Acadia University are proud to launch, Acadia 4U, a student-athlete centered, holistic support program, which provides easily accessible resources under the four pillars of health, wellness, performance, and academics. Each of these four pillars will assist student-athletes with goal setting and life-planning, as well as provide consulting and professional counselling. The mission of the program is clear: to offer a comprehensive program that will help student-athletes ensure they know exactly who to go to when they need assistance. With many different factors impacting the lives of student-athletes, this organized structure will combine guidance in academics, mental health, rehabilitation, strength and conditioning, nutrition, and transitioning in and out of university.

"In some ways, because our school is smaller, it's easier to attend to our student-athletes, which we've been able to do for years. But most times, these support systems have been in isolation from each other," said Kevin Dickie, Executive Director of Athletics. "Now, under this program, they're all linked together to provide the most effective and efficient support for student-athletes as possible. We don't necessarily have the same human or financial resources as bigger schools, but this program allows us to maximize what we do have to the best of our ability."

Dickie mentioned that the vision for this initiative was established in Acadia Athletics' 2017 Strategic Plan. "Over the past couple of years, we've spent a lot of time exploring U SPORTS members' best practices, and we've also examined and visited universities south of the border. We may not be able to replicate the magnitude of a Stanford University, for example, but we can certainly adopt and apply many of the same principles, which we have, while keeping what makes Acadia special," he said.

Krista Robertson, Athletic Services Coordinator, will be spearheading the program, serving as a link between the student-athletes and the campus-wide resources. "After many years of being around student-athletes, I've seen a lot of tears, often with joy, but sometimes with sadness," noted Robertson. "Acadia is such a family, and often the tears of sadness could have been prevented if the student-athlete just asked or sought out help. We developed Acadia4U so every athlete knows they can come into a place where it is a completely safe zone. No judgement."

Under the four-pillar model of the program, Acadia 4U is supported by a network of key individuals across campus. This includes Courtney Sheedy, Health and Wellness Educator with the Acadia Student Resource Centre who will manage all health and wellness support for student-athletes and Meaghan Mousseau, Student Advisor for Acadia, who will assist student-athletes with academic concerns.

Acadia Athletics staff members Curtis Arsenault and Elliott Richardson will manage the physical aspects of Acadia 4U.

As Head Athletic Therapist, Curtis Arsenault will ensure the best rehabilitation practices are implemented to help enhance student-athlete performance. Elliott Richardson, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach will enhance student-athlete performance through the strength and conditioning program.

The strong partnership between Acadia Athletics and Acadia's Student Services has enabled the success and development of this program. Erica McGill, Director of Student Resources, sees the potential the program can have. "The Acadia 4U program has a tremendous opportunity to support student-athletes in all aspects of their university experience. With the collaboration of Athletics and Student Services, the Acadia 4U program has identified the vital aspects of health and well-being; and provided accessible pathways for these key supports," she said.

Those involved within the campus, community, and athletic department are already seeing positive effects of the program. Fourth-year women's rugby player, Skye Forcier, and fifth-year men's hockey team captain, Liam Maaskant, have been the two students connecting the conversation from athletes and teams to the Athletic Department. Maaskant and Forcier recognize what impact these services have when trying to compete at the highest level, both stating, "Ultimately, if we know that our team at Acadia is doing everything they can to support us, it gives us more inspiration to represent them on the field, rink, court, pool, or course."

The launch of Acadia 4U is an important steppingstone in setting a new standard for student-athlete services. Athletes at Acadia University will now be able to focus on their respective sport more than ever, knowing they have precise and immediate support in all other areas of life.

Any further questions please contact Krista Robertson at 902-585-1552, or krista.robertson@acadiau.ca