SAAC Community Service Challenge

By Connor Curry

Volume 67, No.7

Softball Team vs. Men’s Golf Team Compete in Volleyball on Nov. 9. Courtesy photo by Amber Robinson

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has launched an exciting challenge for the month of November to incentivize community service.

SAAC is a nationwide committee made up of student athletes to give university officials proper insight into the student athlete experience. SAAC offers input on rules, regulations and policies that affect student athletes’ ways of life during their college career. 

SAAC is intended to serve as a way to have open communication among student athletes, coaches, and athletic administrators to improve the overall student athlete experience as well as promote growth and education through the participation of sports. 

SAAC head officers for the 2021-2022 academic year are co-presidents Lauren Bennett, senior professional education major and softball player, and Lexi Betz, senior communication arts major and softball player. Co-vice presidents are Robin Campbell, senior sport management major and women’s basketball player, and Patrick Alvarez, senior sport management major and men’s soccer player. 

Other officers are secretary Anna Hopple, junior primary childhood education major and volleyball player; social media coordinator Kelsey Stadler, freshman digital arts major and women’s golf player; event planner Ryan Dean, junior political science major and men’s soccer player; and staff advisor Bill Eddins, head women’s golf coach. Additionally, SAAC is composed of at least one or two athletes from each sports team. 

November is notoriously known as the month designated for community service in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, which is the current athletic conference Malone is involved in. Co-presidents Bennett and Betz are given credit for the idea of this year’s November SAAC challenge. It was designed to create a fun and competitive atmosphere amongst student athletes while completing community service projects. 

Teams can earn 20 points for each completed community service project during November.

Athletic teams can also challenge other teams to sports competitions where each team is awarded five points and the winner of the two is awarded an additional 10 points. Three points are awarded for each team member that follows the SAAC Instagram account, @malonesaac. 

The athlete social, which took place on Nov. 14, is also a way to earn points, as each team member present is awarded five points toward their team’s total. The social serves as a break from stress as well as an opportunity for athletes to socialize and get to know each other better. 

“[The social] creates a sense of community among the athletes,” Betz said. “We are all very busy and I think sometimes we get lost in our jobs here of just working hard and doing what we need to do.” 

As of Nov. 12, the men’s golf team is in first place with 15 points after defeating the softball team in a competitive volleyball match, which took place on Nov. 9.

Other teams, however, are expected to receive points in the near future with upcoming community service events and sports challenges. With this in mind, it is safe to say that any team on campus is still in the running for being awarded team champions. 

The winning team of the November competition will receive t-shirts to signify their accomplishments. Although this does not seem like much, the whole concept of the challenge is to promote unity between athletic teams on campus while providing service to the campus community.

“We are trying to establish some new traditions,” Staff Advisor Eddins said. “We would like this [event] to carry on into the future.” 

COVID-19 has disrupted many campus-wide activities for athletes and traditional students alike, including the Malone Sports Awards. This event is held annually, usually at the tail end of the spring semester, but has been canceled the past two years due to COVID-19.

These awards are presented to showcase all the accomplishments athletes have made over the course of the year including those teams who have worked to make Malone a better campus. 

“We look forward to celebrating [the Malone Sports Awards], and recognizing the team with the most community service hours,” Eddins said. “It is really appreciated by the campus community.”

SAAC officers and members have high hopes that their efforts will influence all students to be more involved in the campus community. 

“I think it is important for other students to see athletes’ involvement in the community,” David Chapman, senior finance major and men’s golf player, said. “[We need to take] pride in our campus. We all live here; we all want to see it thrive.”

“I would advise future students to become a part of SAAC because it gives you a voice for both yourself and your teammates,” Bennett said. “We have opportunities within SAAC to bring athletes closer together, create community, and change policies if need be.”

All Malone athletes are encouraged to be a part of the SAAC family, which not only gives students the opportunity to voice their opinions but ultimately fosters growth for the campus community. Athletes who are interested in partnering with SAAC should reach out to their coach or any one of the officers listed above.

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