Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Life Skills Year in Review

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska Life Skills 2015-2016 Year in Review

Nebraska Life Skills remains committed to providing an unmatched experience for current and alumni student-athletes. Six professional staff members coordinate a wide range of services demonstrating a strong commitment to total person development and preparation for life after college. Nebraska Life Skills also oversees the N Club working diligently to keep Husker alumni connected and engaged to the program. Below is a summary of programming and accomplishments within the past year.

Personal Development of Student-Athletes, Alumni and Staff 

Our commitment to providing the best overall student-athlete experience in the country features comprehensive Academic Services, Life Skills/Career Services, University/Community Service, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and other programming. We promote and ensure the safety, best interests, health and well-being of all student-athletes.

Nebraska remains committed at the highest level to providing the absolute best people, structure and innovative resources providing all student-athletes with an unmatched educational experience, while emphasizing the importance of total person development. Nebraska strives to provide an unmatched student-athlete experience emphasizing success in athletics, academics and life, while providing all permissible resources to further prepare for life after athletics and long-term success. The following is a summary of activities, initiatives and accomplishments in the areas of Life Skills/Career Services, Community Service/Outreach, the N-Club, and Diversity & Inclusion.

Life Skills/Career Services Programming

  • 185 incoming student-athletes completed the eight week, zero credit, pass, no-pass Husker Life Seminar focusing on adjustment, decision-making, leadership, career identity and service. The course is offered through the College of Education and Human Sciences and relies heavily on campus experts as presenters.
  • Best-selling author Jon Gordon served as a keynote speaker at the Husker Life Seminar, while reconnecting with all student-athletes and the entire athletic staff at beginning-of-the-year meetings. Gordon challenged student-athletes and staff to strive for greatness.
  • 110 student-athlete graduates were honored at two Senior Celebrations held at the Eichorst residence. The event recognizes the dedicated efforts of soon to-be Husker graduates, while reiterating Nebraska’s commitment to ongoing support aiding in the transition to the working world.
  • 187 Nebraska student-athletes have attended the Post-Eligibility Opportunity introductory workshop to learn details about the $7,500 postgraduate scholarship available within a three-year window of graduation that can be used for an internship, study abroad experience or graduate school at Nebraska. Eighty-six student-athletes have qualified for the funding and 15 have already used funds through this innovative program to enhance career marketability.
  • Nebraska’s second annual service abroad trip included a travel party of 24 who served in the Dominican Republic from May 8th through May 15th building a sports court, completing a mural and interacting with youth and families. In addition to three members from Life Skills, a HuskerVision staff member and baseball alum, 21 outstanding student-athlete leaders had a life-changing experience, while enhancing their cultural competency.
  • More than 400 student-athletes attended the 2015 Husker Student-Athlete Career Fair and Major Exploration event on September 28th. In addition to helping new student-athletes with major and career focus, more than 30 companies and graduate schools were in attendance highlighting excellent future opportunities.
  • The 2016 Networking Night occurred on February 17th. Ninety-five sophomore student-athletes learned about the art of networking and practiced networking skills with Husker alums and area professionals.
  • Under the leadership of President Caroline Flynn, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee kicked off the 2015-16 academic year with a retreat at Outdoor Campus Recreation Adventures on August 23rd followed by 15 additional meetings. Thirty-nine student-athletes represented all 24 sports having consistent communication with senior management team members, head coaches, the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee and the Big Ten Conference throughout the year ensuring a student-athlete voice in all matters impacting collegiate student-athletes.
  • The Inner Circle Leadership group expanded from 30 members last year to 57 in 2015-16.  Second to fifth year student-athlete leaders, representing 18 varsity sports, interacted with eight distinguished Husker alums, attended a speed networking night, organized a mentoring appreciation event and served as facilitators for the annual Link N Leaders program.
  • Financial Education Seminars open to all student-athletes were facilitated by members of Nebraska’s Compliance and Life Skills staff as well as professionals from Northwestern Mutual and Heritage Financial.
  • Student-Athlete Bridge Orientations were held during 1st and 2nd five week summer sessions helping new student-athletes connect to campus and the community of Lincoln while being reminded of responsibilities and opportunities.  

Community Service/Outreach

  • Collectively, Nebraska student-athletes and staff volunteered for more than 400 service projects impacting 25,000 people throughout the state of Nebraska and beyond.
  • A record number 347 Nebraska student-athletes completed at least six service projects or more during the 2015-16 academic year earning them a spot on the annual Tom Osborne Citizenship Team.
  • A record 65 Husker Football players were named to the annual Brook Berringer Citizenship team in recognition of their outstanding leadership and service. 
  • Nearly 6,000 middle school students from across Nebraska attended the fourth annual Life Skills Sportsmanship Pep Rally held at the Devaney Center on November 6th, hearing inspirational messages from Husker student-athletes and coaches about education and life skills.
  • Eighty Husker student-athletes volunteered in weekly mentoring programs connecting with Lincoln Public Schools students as well as the elderly at various retirement communities throughout Lincoln.
  •  On Sunday, September 13th, more than 1,000 attended the annual Husker Heroes outreach at Memorial Stadium, providing freshman and transfer student-athletes a chance to serve youth and families with special needs.
  • Thirty Husker student-athletes volunteered for the annual NFL Fuel Up to Play 60 Summit held on April 12th. The Huskers led tours through the Lewis Training Table, hosted interactive stations on the field and challenged youth to live a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Approximately 200 Lincoln Public Schools youth and their parents attended the Link N Leaders program featuring student-athlete facilitators from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Inner Circle who reinforced the core values of the Nebraska Athletics Department.
  • Approximately 300 guests, made up of Wish kids and their families, joined 40 student-athlete volunteers for the annual Make-A-Wish Family Party at Memorial Stadium to celebrate the gift of life.
  • Hospital visits throughout Lincoln were made by numerous Husker teams including the Husker Football team who for the 22nd consecutive year made pre-Thanksgiving visits providing cheer and encouragement.
  • For the 25th consecutive year, Nebraska student-athletes volunteered for both School is Cool and American Education week impacting 5,000 youth and emphasizing the importance of education and responsible choices.
  • The Nebraska Football team co-organized their third annual Uplifting Athletes Road Race to raise awareness and funds for Pediatric Brain Cancer. With tremendous support from the Lincoln Track Club, nearly 800 runners participated in the 1 mile or 5K runs on Sunday, July 19th helping raise over $35,000.
  • The Hero Leadership Award was presented to 35 student-athletes leaders for setting the tone with volunteerism and leadership on their respective teams.
  • Mattie Fowler, Ethan Lottman, Nathan Wong and Levi Gipson were awarded with the prestigious Heart and Soul Award for dedicated community service throughout their collegiate career at Nebraska.

N Club

  • Nebraska Athletics was represented at the annual National Letterwinner Association Conference held in June in Baton Rouge, LA from June 19th through the 21st.
  • Eight N Club Advisory Council meetings were held during the 2015-16 year. The council is comprised of letterwinner alums, University Alumni Association staff, Keith Zimmer and Ashley Stone.
  • Letterwinner Induction ceremonies were held on November 15th and March 6th inducting a total of 107 new members to the N-Club. First-time letterwinners received their jackets from their Head Coach, Sport Administrator and Husker alums. Parents, staff and other dignitaries attend these special ceremonies which include video presentations and remarks from alums, new letterwinners and staff.
  • The N Club Fall Social took place at the beautiful Barbara Hibner Stadium and Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center on September 10th. Alumni athletes from all sports heard presentation from our head soccer and tennis coaches in addition to Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst. Current team members from tennis and soccer hosted guided tours of the new facility.
  • More than 175 letterwinners were recognized during the 2nd annual Weekend of Champions on October 23rd and 24th. Teams honored included the 1995 National Championship Football team, 2005 Super Six Finals Women’s Gymnastics team, 2005 National Championship Bowling team, 2005 College World Series Baseball team, 2005 Final Four Volleyball team and 1995 Final Four Volleyball Team. 
  • The N Club Winter Social took place on January 10th at Pinnacle Bank Arena where nearly 80 alums gathered in the Club Lounge prior to the Huskers taking on Illinois in Women’s Basketball. The Development and Life Skills staffs presented to the alums prior to tipoff.
  • More than 200 letterwinners, student-athletes and athletic department staff volunteered on April 7th for the N Club Service project. Well over 33,000 meals were packed in less than two hours serving hungry children locally, nationally and internationally. 
  • Well over 100 letterwinners participated in the N Club Golf Scramble on April 10th at Quarry Oaks Golf Course just outside of Ashland, NE. Alums from football, golf, baseball, basketball, wrestling and track and field enjoyed fellowship with Husker alums earning various prizes and team awards. 

Diversity and Inclusion

  • Nebraska Athletics hosted an inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Summit on January 31st and February 1st. All student-athletes and staff enjoyed presentations from Carolos Andrez Gomez, Dr. Eric Lueshen, Rohan Murphy and Head Husker Softball Coach, Rhonda Revelle. The theme of the summit was “Respect, Acceptance and Unity.” 
  • The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Holiday Diversity Dance took place on December 5th in the West Stadium Club. More than 150 student-athletes enjoyed great music, food and company while building new friendships.
  • More than 200 student-athletes celebrated diversity at the Mix-It Up Dinner hosted by SAAC. The student-athletes enjoyed a special dinner and engaged with Husker student-athletes outside of their immediate sport, while enjoying music at the Lewis Training Table.
  • With support from HuskerVision, a special leadership video series was created for Black History Month and Women’s History Month. A combined total of 18 student-athletes were featured in these video series, which received exposure on huskers.com and social media.
  • Five “Next Steps” field trips were coordinated this past year serving approximately 325 students from underserved areas across the state of Nebraska. Students were encouraged to “dream big,” gaining exposure about college life and hearing testimony from student-athletes.
  • On February 29th, as a part of Black History Month, 75 student-athletes enjoyed a success panel featuring the insights of decorated alums Shawn Buchanan (baseball), Peaches James (softball) and Charlie Green (Track and Field).
  • Nebraska Athletics is represented on the University-side Diversity Council under the leadership of Dr. Lance Perez.

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