By Karis Fuller
The spring sports training season is in full swing and so is the wider athletic community. On Feb. 5, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) had its first meeting of the semester. What is SAAC and what do they do? It is a campus committee of a nationwide body of student athletes who discuss issues they face both on a college, regional and national level. Each sports team has two or three representatives on the committee who gather once a month to communicate their concerns with the athletic community to coaches, trustees, administrations and professor, as well as discussing the ways in which the student athletes can be role models. The SAAC committee is made up of volunteer athletes, most of which remain on the committee for the duration of their time at Post. The representatives on the committee also attend weekend seminars in order to be more informed about the athletics conference and regions.
Junior philosophy major John Dehler is a representative for the baseball team. “We determine what the best course of action is for student athletes,” Dehler said about the role of the SAAC athletes. “We work on how to make the athletic community better.”
One way in which student athletes help the community is with their involvement in the Make-A-Wish foundation, where the SAAC athlete encourage their teammates to help fundraise for the cause. This foundation uses the money donated to help grant a terminally ill child’s last wish. So far this year, the athletes at Post have raised $951 for the foundation. By selling the Make-A-Wish stars that now decorate the Pratt Recreation Center and wrist-bands, the student athletes are only $549 shy of their end of semester goal of $1500, and are coming up with other fundraising ideas to help achieve this. An idea that was discussed was a possible Chipotle fundraiser. This involves bringing one of the printed fliers to Chipotle and them giving a small percent of the cost as proceeds to the Make-A-Wish foundation. Although not finalized this has proved to be a fun and fast way of making more money for the charity. “I’ve collected cash and loose change around Hillwood Commons,” Dehler said about his efforts to raise money. “We fundraise as much money as we can to help someone’s wish come true!” he added.
During the spring semester, SAAC representatives will be meeting with the new athletic director, Debbie DeJong, on a monthly basis following the SAAC meetings. The SAAC athletes wanted to create a line of communication between the student athletes and administration, which is often lost with the busy schedules of both the athletes and the administration. “When there is a problem it doesn’t always get to the right people,” Dehler said.
He discussed how the student athletes want to work on improving the varsity weight room, as there is not enough weights or space for the number of athletes that use it. SAAC believes this renovation will help the athletes reach their full potential. Junior criminal justice and forensic science major Rachel Londot is one of the volleyball team’s three representatives on SAAC. She agrees with Dehler about establishing a relationship with DeJong. “It is to develop a good relationship with her and to better communicate issues concerning athletes,”she said. “I think these meeting will help athletes gain a stronger voice on campus and have a better chance of getting and seeing the changes they bring up and want.”
SAAC will also play an active role in the Student Government Association, there will be a regular representation, unlike this past year when a SAAC representative only attended on occasion. Two members of SAAC will attend SGA meetings to project the athletic voice to the wider school community. This responsibility will be shared among all SAAC representatives, as each sport must be present for one meeting in the spring semester, according to the SAAC representatives themselves who thought having each sport attend is the fairest and most responsible way to organize it. “Having SAAC representatives at SGA meetings can help give athletes a better opportunity to make changes and influence decisions being made on campus if they are present at these meetings, where these decisions often get made,” Londot said.
At the next SAAC meeting on Monday, Feb. 26, in the conference room facing the turf the SAAC athletes will discuss the status of their fundraising efforts, the success of the meeting with the administration.
To stay up-to-date with the fundraising and SAAC events, follow them on Instagram @liupostsaac.