The SAM Program at Washington College
The Athletics Department at Washington College recognizes that in addition to the physical and academic demands placed on collegiate student-athletes, there may be social, emotional, and psychological pressures. In 1993 Washington College implemented a program of peer support for student-athletes, named the Student-Athlete-Mentor (SAM) Program.
SAM Program Goal
The goal of the SAM program is "to create a safer and more positive environment that reduces social hazards for student athletes." To achieve this goal and to help educate their teammates, the SAMs at Washington College have organized a number of guest speakers on topics such as substance abuse, motivation, nutrition, date rape, and eating disorders. SAMs select topics based on the concerns of their individual teams and address issues that can affect the entire campus community.
Who are the SAMs?
SAMs are student-athletes elected by their teammates. Team members are encouraged to choose a SAM who can be helpful in a wide variety of situations and exemplifies some of the following characteristics: confidentiality, open-mindedness, and resourcefullness. SAMs are available to their teammates both on and off the playing venue, and they have resources and referral information at their disposal.
There are several SAM training sessions throughout the school year. This training includes seminars by experts in the areas of substance abuse, battering and partner abuse, health issues, nutrition and weight concerns, sexual assault, and emotional problems. There are also training sessions and clinics by college staff in a wide variety of other areas. In the past several years, topics for SAM training have included: supporting a victim of date rape, alcoholism in college students, sexual orientation, and sexually transmitted diseases.