SAAC Co-Advisor Advances Student-Athlete Development

Torrence Banks, Managing Editor

Due to the pandemic, graduating seniors have not had the chance to use Morehouse’s career center. In the past, these resources have helped student-athletes prepare for their life after athletics by helping them secure jobs. Morehouse College’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has created the Beyond Athletics Campaign to help students develop professional skills needed to be successful after college. 

“With our student-athletes, a lot of times they get kind of lost in the process of who I am outside of being a student-athlete,” Morehouse Athletic Academic Advisor and SAAC Co-Advisor Youndlyne Renard said. “So, putting together this program, I wanted to make sure I was hitting an area that would benefit them the most. 

Vice President and Marketing Chair of the SAAC Shawn Johnson said, “Our goal was to pretty much push forward workshops that student-athletes could attend, and regular students could attend as well to kind of show what is beyond the sports.” 

Areas that this campaign has recently helped students with is resume writing, branding and financing. Delta Airlines HR Specialist Ellice Burley gave a presentation on April 7 on what companies look for on students’ resumes and on their LinkedIn accounts. Director of Advertising and Branding for the Baltimore Ravens Deandra Duggans agreed to speak with students about social media branding on April 21. 

“How do you put together a successful LinkedIn account,” Renard said. “How do you build a resume to make sure that you’re getting the job you’re applying for? What are those keywords? What changes have been made in the last 10-20 years that are no longer relevant from what we’ve been taught in the past? 

“Understand that you as an individual are a brand, and how you should be branding yourself, and what your image is and what your story line says about you…How you can literally push that through social media.” 

So far, these presentations have proven to be beneficial for students. Students have been interactive with speakers at the end of these events. 

“We get a lot of questions towards the speakers as well as comments of students reflecting that they learned of something that they didn’t know before entering these workshops,” Johnson said. 

These topics are only the beginning for the campaign. Renard is hoping to touch on other topics that can help student-athletes and other Morehouse students. Her goal is to help students be better prepared for life after college, something that classes do not always do. 

“A lot of times, the things that were learning in the classroom are beneficial in the sense that they help you within your program,” Renard said. “But when it comes to real world things that everyone has to go through and daily nuances, we tend to forget those things.” 

Over the past two years, the SAAC worked on laying the groundwork for the program. Studentathletes went through leadership training, and some went to Clemson University to see how the school’s leadership program was put together.  

“Laying the groundwork in the sense of what is it that your fellow student-athletes need,” Renard said. “What do they want? How do you get them to really show up for this when it is not mandatory? 

“Our Athletic Director at the time was more than helpful and helped secure funding so that we could send five or six athletes out.” 

Renard believes that the program will transition well once students return to campus. She hopes to be able to prove its importance and create partnerships with the business department and the Journalism and Sports program. 

“I hope to be able to utilize the information that we’ve garnered from this process of participation, marketing and promotion to be able to put that in front of our Provost and our Athletic Director and have them see the importance of it,” Renard said.