The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs) Prepare to Take the Next Step

As part of the system of mentorship and advising at Grinnell College, Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs) are tasked with helping their peers connect with available resources on campus and with providing support. Currently, student leaders Lauren Hurley ’18 and Nate Zaroban ’18 are ushering in a new group of SAMs as well as to pass the baton on to the next student leaders.
“We’ve had a great group of leaders this year,” Hurley said. “I think the group of new SAMs will have great leadership and be able to bring lots of energy to the program.”

The SAM program has been a recent success story. Created four years ago, it has grown to include a representative from each varsity team and ultimate frisbee, a stride that Hurley feels has greatly increased groups’ accessibility to student athletes and created a more supportive network amongst athletes.

“We have created a community within the SAMs,” Hurley said. “This has helped promote support across teams and interest in what other student athletes and teams are doing within the Athletic Department.”

In addition to connecting peers with campus resources, a different SAM hosts an event each month to help students in various facets of college life.

“We really leave the event planning up to the SAM,” Hurley said. “The events can take different forms, from a smoothie [study] break to a mental health outreach with SHACS that’s at a time when people won’t have practice. We have found that these events help make us more accessible.”

Director of Wellness and Prevention Jen Jacobsen, who runs the group, has been encouraged by the growth of the program over the last few years.

“I think at this point we’ve grown where we need to grow,” Jacobsen said. “96.6 percent of our student-athletes know who their SAM is and 75.1 percent of our student-athletes say they have gone or will go to their SAM if they needed help. From here we really want all of campus to be aware of the resource that they have, not just the student athletes.”

Zaroban and Hurley have each been involved with SAMs for the last three years. Therefore, their absence will mark a turning point for the program in the coming year.

“To find a new SAM, we usually ask the current SAM to brainstorm people on their team who could fill the role to find someone to best fit the needs of that team,” Zaroban said. “Then they pitch those people … to a SAMs meeting where we discuss that nomination. The unique needs and subcultures of each team plays a big factor in the type of person we nominate for that group.”
Next year, the two new student leaders will be Hanna O’Neill ’20 and Jake Conran ’20, who have served the Women’s Swimming and Diving team and Men’s Basketball team, respectively.
“We’ve had Baseball, Softball, Men’s and Women’s Soccer,” Zaroban said. “But we are really excited to incorporate Basketball and Swimming into the leadership as well because [Conran and O’Neill] are from teams that have never led the SAMs.”

Going forward, Conran and O’Neill will look to further expand the program beyond its current bounds.

“We want to first have more communication with other student athlete groups, for instance Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Student Athletes Leading Social Change (SALSC), so we can do more collaborative work,” O’Neill said. “We also want to make sure our outreach programs are reaching non-student-athletes. By making these outreach programs more inclusive, we hope that people will feel comfortable approaching us in any regard.”

Based on the success of the past four years, Jacobsen is very encouraged to see where the program will go.

SAMs communicate between athletes and the rest of the student body.

“Our best leadership is peer leadership,” Jacobsen said. “Our SAMs are directly involved in athletics and [are] the experts of the experience at Grinnell, which makes them essential.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *