April 4, 2012

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- The Atlantic 10 Conference proudly names Temple University the winner of the 2012 A-10 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's (SAAC) "Anti-Bullying" Video Competition after the Owl's video, "Owls Give a Hoot," received an astonishing 5,353 votes from the online fan poll on atlantic10.com. 

Temple's video showcased over 30 student-athletes, members of the student body, campus administrators and Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw, all of whom urged viewers to "give a hoot" and take a stand against bullying.

"I'm very proud of what the student-athletes in the Atlantic 10 SAAC have done both in the creativity of their videos and in their efforts to address an incredibly important topic in our society today," stated Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. "While Temple won the contest, each institution should be commended for helping to bring to light an issue that impacts so many people."

The competition's winner is determined by two equally weighted components: the online fan vote and voting conducted by each institution's campus SAAC organization.  Temple's victory was fueled by the online fan vote and one first place vote in the campus SAAC voting.

Coming in second in this year's contest was La Salle, driven by its 4,953 fan votes--a number made more impressive after learning the size of its full-time undergraduate enrollment: 3,359.  Additionally, La Salle added one first place vote to its point total from the campus SAAC vote.

Richmond was narrowly edged out by La Salle to secure third place, boasting four of a possible 13 first-place campus SAAC votes.  No other campus received more than one first place vote. Rounding out the field was Massachusetts in fourth, followed by Dayton, Rhode Island, Xavier, Saint Louis, Duquesne, George Washington and Charlotte.

The anti-bullying theme of this year's contest was chosen by a unanimous vote of the Atlantic 10 Conference SAAC and provided the perfect canvas for A-10 student-athletes to create compelling messages of hope, compassion and strength.

"We decided to go with an anti-bullying theme this year for the video competition because we wanted to do our part as student-athletes to address a major issue in today's society," explained Alex Dadds, the junior cross country student-athlete from George Washington who first introduced this year's theme to the group. "As student-athletes we are in a position of influence and I think it's important to realize nothing is going to change if we don't speak up."

The competition provided institutions with the option to produce videos promoting a broader anti-bullying message or videos supporting the `It Gets Better Project', an online forum that, according to its website was "created to show young LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach - if they can just get through their teen years."

"Here at George Washington we decided to make an "It Gets Better" video which shows our support to those in the LGBT community, many of whom go through life constantly being bullied" Dadds explained. 

Aside from the anti-bullying theme, student-athletes were restricted only by suggested time parameters and the requirement that all videos must be student-produced (no staff-created submissions would be accepted).  While the approach to the project varied from school to school, the universal message was clear: Atlantic 10 student-athletes do not tolerate bullying.

One can only hope that the near 16,000 voters are only fraction of the number of people who will be impacted by the message that is delivered through the videos.

"To have generated enough excitement and interest to produce almost 16,000 online votes shows that [the student-athletes] have taken advantage of a real opportunity to make a difference," said Jill Redmond, Atlantic 10 Assistant Commissioner and Conference SAAC liaison. "It doesn't end with the videos- campuses have begun visiting schools to address the issue of bullying,"

To watch all the video entries online, please log on to /ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=31600&ATCLID=209242227

For help or more information about how to prevent bullying, visit www.stopbullying.gov