Ram Ramblings: WSSU wins NCAA grant | University

Winston-Salem State’s athletics department won an impressive grant from the NCAA and it has nothing to do with a ball, a bat or a score of a game.

The grant will go to WSSU to help educate its athletes about the risks of alcohol.

I know Tonia Walker, WSSU’s award winning athletics director, is big on community service for her coaches and athletes. But she’s also big on educating the WSSU athletes and the rest of the student body as well.

Here is the release from the NCAA about the award, which will give WSSU $30,000 over a three-year period to fund the project.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -The Department of Athletics at Winston Salem State University has been awarded a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) CHOICES grant to educate students about the risks involved with the misuse of alcohol.

The grant will award $30,000 over a three-year period, funded by the NCAA with support from Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. The grant, designed to integrate athletics’ departments into campus-wide efforts to reduce alcohol abuse, is a collaboration between the Department of Athletics, Student Affairs and two academic departments – the Department of Health, Physical Education and Sport Studies (HPSS) and Human Services Studies (HSS).

“The purpose of the grant project, entitled Project MAC (Mindful Alcohol Choices), is to create awareness of the health implications, including the physical, mental, emotional, and social, as well as the legal ramifications of poorly and uniformed alcohol decision making,” stated Tonia Walker Director of Athletics.

Dr. Cynthia Williams Brown, Chair of HPSS and Faculty Athletics Representative will serve as grant Co-PI along with Dr. Greg Henderson, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Studies. Dr. Henderson, a Licensed Substance Abuse Specialist, states that “the ultimate goal of the project is to create a culture of awareness of the impact of the consequences of alcohol use and misuse by college students.”

LaTaya Hilliard-Gray, Senior Woman’s Administrator and Head Softball Coach will serve as the Department of Athletics lead staff member on the project. Coach Hilliard-Gray also serves as the advisor for the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Overjoyed with enthusiasm, Hilliard-Gray states “I am excited about the opportunity for Athletics and student-athletes to partner with other key campus constituents on this project. The initiative gives our student-athletes an opportunity to demonstrate leadership while also bridging the gap between athletics and academics, fostering stronger relations.

Other project staff include Heather Davis, Director of University Student Activities and Engagement. Ms. Davis will help to integrate grant activities into campus life. Grant activities will begin in the fall of 2017.