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Be Better Kick-Off Event Encourages Huskers to Build Meaningful Connections

By NU Athletic Communications

Lincoln, NE – The newest life skills leadership group, N-volved launched the Be Better Campaign, at a kickoff event held on Tuesday, April 16th in Memorial Stadium. The energy was contagious as nearly 100 student-athletes came together to play games, connect with their peers, and eat UNL Dairy Store ice cream.

The Be Better Campaign, an idea that originated from sophomore golfer Kate Smith, was quickly adopted by the N-volved group as a way to bring all the student-athletes together in a fun, light-hearted environment.

“Our goal was to promote a stronger sense of community within our athletic department,” Smith explained. “My hope was that athletes from different teams can start looking to each other for the comfort and support they need to have a positive collegiate experience.” 

The Campaign revolves around four main pillars:

  1. Show Support to all athletes in their sport, and in pursuit of their passions
  2. Speak Up if we see something that isn’t right
  3. Give Respect to everyone, no matter what beliefs, background, or challenges they may face
  4. Make Connections and strive to break out of our comfort zones

Overall, the event encouraged the Huskers to make small steps to improve the already positive culture of Nebraska Athletics.  

“For me, the campaign means that we are helping to create a culture that is accepting and uplifting of everyone," sophomore Rifle student-athlete Emily Cheramie explained. “It means that we will not only try to help better those around us, but reminds us to be better to ourselves too which I think is often overlooked in college students – especially student-athletes.”  

The event consisted of a series of group activities designed to help the student-athletes meet new people and have discussions that stretched beyond sport and small talk. The first, “Get to Know Your Peers Bingo” asked student-athletes to collect signatures of their peers. Categories included finding someone who has bilingual, adopted, or working a job in college.  

For Cheramie, the activities marked her favorite part of the event, “I loved watching how into the games and activities everyone got. Everybody jumped right in and really went for it, even if the activities were a bit goofy, people opened up and really had fun with it.” 

Other activities included the “Human Knot” encouraging creative team problem solving, and “Animal Farm” requiring students to communicate, while being aware and inclusive of others. Together, they provided the students with a space to learn more about their peers and engage with people they previously didn’t know.

Smith reflected: “The Be Better Event exceeded expectations, it’s one thing getting people together, but having them enjoy the event like they did was so cool! The first thing my teammate said when she left was, ‘Kate I think I just met 20 people’ which that reaction embodied the whole point of the event!" 

After the activities, the inaugural “Huskers Supporting Huskers” team cup was presented at the event. An initiative lead by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), that directly aligns with the “Show Support” pillar of the Be Better Campaign. The goal of the Huskers Supporting Huskers award is to encourage student athletes to attend other sporting events of their peers and create a more unified and supportive athletic department.

SAAC Big Ten Representative, Sinclaire Miramontez, led the initiative. She noted, “This first year has definitely been a learning experience, but I think we had great turn out at each sporting event and we are looking to build off of this momentum for next year and the Lets Be Better Event was a great catalyst for exciting teams about competing for the trophy more next year.” 

The winning team, Soccer, had over half of their team at every Huskers Supporting Huskers event they were in town for. To learn more about SAAC and the Huskers Supporting Huskers competition, visit huskers.com/saac.

As the event came to a close, the student-athletes built off the connections they made during the activities during an ice cream social. They played corn hole, listened to music, received bag tags to serve as a constant reminder of the goal: to build a positive and healthy community for all Husker student-athletes. The Be Better Kick Off Event will be the first of many events hosted by N-volved centered around the campaign.

 “My hope is that we can continue to expand our knowledge of social issues and share this information with others,” junior soccer player, Mayte Corral said. “I can see N-volved making a change within the athletic department and the student body by creating events and spreading awareness of issues happening around us today.”

N-volved is a discussion-based social climate leadership group, which provides student-athletes a safe space to discuss and explore current events and have difficult conversations. The group focuses on developing meaningful relationships that enhance understanding, connectedness and personal growth. A two-fold approach helps not only educate student-athletes on social issues, but also gives them the skills to build meaningful connections with others to share their story and invite others to do the same.

For more information on the N-volved leadership group, visit Huskers.com/lifeskills or contact Sammi Cowger at scowger@huskers.com.

 

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