Wyoming Athletics Launches Excellence at 7220 Initiative

Sept. 14, 2015

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

University of Wyoming Athletics is launching a new initiative, "Excellence at 7220", focused on helping develop leadership skills in both its student-athletes and employees.

The mission of the Excellence at 7220 initiative includes the tenants of: developing tomorrow's leaders; promoting personal growth; encouraging community engagement; improving the well-being of student-athletes, coaches and staff; promoting excellence; teaching skills for life; encouraging professional development; and helping guide each participant on an individual level.

Three pillars have been established to guide the initiative for UW student-athletes. Those three pillars are: Leadership, Health/Wellness and Skills 4 Life. Similarly, three pillars will guide the development of leadership skills for UW Athletics employees. The three employee pillars center around: New Employee Development, Professional Development and Health/Wellness.

Key elements of both the student-athlete and employee development programs will feature training sessions on specific topics, establishment of mentor programs and bringing to campus guest speakers who focus on teaching leadership to organizations and individuals on a national level.

"We feel it is important that we provide both our student-athletes and employees an opportunity to grow personally and professionally," said Tom Burman, UW Director of Athletics. "Our hopes are that by initiating a detailed program with specific goals and establishing guidelines to accomplishing those goals we will see real benefits for our staff and students."

One of the specific opportunities that will be offered to UW student-athletes and coaches through the Excellence at 7220 program will be working with the Jeff Janssen Leadership Center.

"Our veteran student-athlete leaders, emerging student-athlete leaders, as well as our coaches will have the great fortune of working with the staff at the Jeff Janssen Leadership Center," said Julie Manning, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sport Administration and Senior Woman Administrator at UW. "Jeff and his staff develop college student-athletes and coaches into world-class leaders on and off the playing fields; doing so through engaging and interactive Leadership Summits, Retreats and Academies.

"The Jeff Janssen Leadership Center works with the nation's top colleges and universities and it only makes sense that our UW Student-Athletes have the opportunity to experience and learn from the very best in the country."

The idea of the initiative came out of discussions within the UW Athletics Department on ways to benefit both student-athletes and department staff as they pursue their careers.

"Excellence at 7220 developed as we focused on the complete student-athlete experience," said Joi Thomas, Assistant Athletics Director for Administration. "We wanted to be able to create a program that would help our student-athletes prepare for life after athletics and college. We wanted to help them realize that the traits and characteristics that they have developed as elite student-athletes are transferable skills outside of sport.

"Additionally, we wanted to help them connect with the community around them through service, leadership development and workshops.

"As we worked on the programming for our student-athletes, we realized that there was a great opportunity to work with our coaches and staff, and that's when we began developing the employee side of Excellence at 7220.

"We believe that this offers a unique experience for our employees and will help them truly connect with the athletics department, the university and the state through initiatives like community service and mentor programs.

"The pillars came about naturally as we started listing the various opportunities, initiatives and programs we wanted to offer. Everything logically fell into these categories and it helped give a better structure to the program."

Gabrielle Gibson, the incoming president of the UW Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and a current member of the Cowgirl golf team, also is excited about the benefits the new program will provide UW student-athletes.

"The program Excellence at 7220 was truly set up to help us as student-athletes excel outside of our respective sports," said Gibson. "I believe that the program is extremely valuable because it teaches leadership, it provides skills that we can use for life and it also promotes good health and well-being.

"I feel very fortunate to be offered a program like this that can help student-athletes be successful."

The Excellence at 7200 initiative will formally launch in July 2015 as UW Athletics prepares for the start of the 2015-16 academic year.