Chamique Holdsclaw Kicks Off 2019-20 Student-Athlete Leadership Program

Members of the MIT Student-Athlete Leadership Program posing with former WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw after she spoke at the season-opening event.

Cambridge, Mass. (September 10) -- As part of the opening event for the MIT Student-Athlete Leadership Program, former WNBA star and University of Tennessee standout Chamique Holdsclaw talked to the MIT student-athlete rising leaders and captains as part of this year's theme about creating a #CultureOfCare. 

Student-athletes were selected by their coaches for the nearly three-hour event, which included a 50-minute screening of her film and a 90-minute question and answer session. Following the film, Holdsclaw spoke with more than 60 MIT student-athletes about her journey through basketball, her own struggles with depression and mental health, and ultimately about how to remove some of the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Also present for the event were David Randall, the Senior Associate Dean for Student Support and Wellbeing, and Karen Singleton Ph.D, Associate Medical Director and Chief of Student Mental Health and Counseling Services, who acted as moderators for a question and answer portion of the event. 

Holdsclaw also spoke with MIT Athletics staff and members of the MIT Care Team earlier in the day to address ways that they can provide a system of support.

"Having Chamique on campus was an extremely valuable experience," said Katie Hoppe, Assistant Director of Athletics. "Our coaches and staff appreciated the insight Chamique provided and the discussion between Chamique and the student-athletes was incredibly engaging. We couldn't ask for a better way to kick off the 'culture of care' theme for our 2019-20 Student-Athlete Leadership Program and upcoming events will cover topics such as self-care, sense of belonging and positive team culture. We look forward to continuing the partnership with David Randall and Karen Singleton to support a culture of care throughout campus."

Speaking to MIT Athletics following the event, Holdsclaw noted the specific challenges that can be placed upon student-athletes at a high-achieving university, commenting that student-athletes "carry that whole perfectionism thing."

"We want to be great at what we do," she continued. "We work hard. But we also need to learn how to decompress and step away from things for a little bit." 

Holdsclaw spoke at length during the event about the different ways coaches, teammates, and support staff can provide support for those who are struggling, and also talked about the effort all parties involved need to make in order to erase the stigma that surrounds mental health struggles and asking for help. 

"At the end of the day this is about total health," she said. "Mind, body and spirit." 

Below you can hear from Chamique Holdsclaw herself, as well as hear feedback from some of our student-athletes who were at the event. In addition, you can check out a photo gallery from the day by clicking here

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