Falk College’s Sport Venue and Event Management (SVEM) program hosted “More Than A Game,” a virtual symposium dedicated to promoting athlete mental health awareness, on April 21, 2021. Speakers include Syracuse University student-athletes as well as industry professionals.
Brittney Sykes ’17 (current WNBA player for the LA Sparks), Cam Lynch ’15 (former NFL linebacker) Morgan Alexander ’21 (women’s lacrosse), and Quincy Guerrier ’23 (men’s basketball) will serve as panelists. Additional keynote speakers include Valorie Kondos Fields (PAC 12 Women’s Gymnastics Coach of the Century), Dr. Jessica Bartley (Director of Mental Health for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committees), Breyah Richardson (former Loyola New Orleans women’s basketball player and founder of B.R.E.A.T.H.E., an organization designed to bring mental health resources to the Black community), Matt Davidson (Founder and President of the Excellence with Integrity Institute), Resa Lovelace (Founder of RBL Theory, an organization dedicated to promoting workplace diversity and inclusivity), and Dona Rodgers (Founder of Morgan’s Message, which strives to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health within the student-athlete community and equalize the treatment of physical and mental health in athletics).
The topic of mental health was selected for its relevance in society, particularly sporting communities, where, regardless of age, race, gender, and/or sexuality, nearly 35 percent of professional athletes cite that they are coping with some form of a mental health issue. The Syracuse University Sport Venue and Event Management program aims to bring awareness to mental health issues affecting athletes and to provide a safe space for sharing information and encouraging discussion.
A core component of Falk College’s SVEM graduate program is a semester-long assignment for each cohort to collectively organize an event that they host during the spring semester.
“This event provides students the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in event planning from start to finish,” said Sport Management Associate Professor Dr. Gina Pauline, who has taught the Advanced Sport Event Management course for the past six years. “They have learned how to work on marketing, sponsorship, operations, and more through the executing of this virtual symposium. In what is a very different academic year for everyone, the students found an opportunity to develop their skills while focusing on such a meaningful topic.”
This year’s symposium, “More Than a Game,” was a first of its kind within the program’s history as a completely online event.
For more information, please visit the More Than A Game website, and follow on Instagram and Twitter at @morethanagameSU.
~ By Kamille Cooper and Michael Okin