November 29, 2012
There are about 600 student-athletes on Hamilton’s campus, but sometimes other groups and societies on campus drown out their voices. The Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) serves as an outlet for athletes’ voices to be heard.
As stated on the NESCAC website, the purpose of SAAC is to “serve as the liaison between the student-athletes of NESCAC member institutions and the administrators. The committee will serve as a voice to represent the concerns of all student-athletes and to discuss issues impacting student-athlete well-being.”
Assistant Athletic Director Kerri Fagan describes the national and institutional important of SAAC: “The role and the voice of SAAC groups, at the institutional, conference and national level, has become important within the NCAA structure. The voice of the collective student-athletes is seriously considered as decisions, which directly impact student-athletes, are made at the national level. At the institutional level, it is just as important for the student-athletes to have an avenue to bring forward issues or concerns and for general discussion.” At the beginning of every SAAC meeting, team representatives point out any team specific concerns or issues they have.
This year at Hamilton, SAAC hopes to lead the athletic department in participating in more community service activities, fostering wider support at athletic contests and addressing the concerns of athletes. Each varsity athletic team on campus currently has at least one representative in SAAC, but any athlete is welcome to participate in the meetings. The leader of SAAC is baseball player Gabe Klein ’13.
Kerri Fagan describes SAAC as an opportunity for student-athletes from all teams to work together for various causes, ranging from community service to creating pride in being a Hamilton student-athlete. Fagangoes on to say that, “the Hamilton College SAAC group is thoughtful and approaches its responsibilities seriously. The group is committed to working towards common goals and believes that as a group, they can be leaders on this campus.”
The current group has already taken on a number of projects, the main project being the “Bleed Blue Game of the Week.” This initiative serves the purpose of one athletic team or event gaining full support for the weekend or for one game. SAAC wants to create an environment where students and other teams support each other. At each Game of the Week, there will be incentives such as t-shirts and free food, and publicity circulating around campus prior to the games in hopes to gain support. However, there are many other options as to what SAAC can bring to the Hamilton community.
Klein briefly explains some of the other projects SAAC is taking on, “SAAC is looking to get the student-athlete voice heard. This year’s goals include brother and sister teams to increase attendance at athletic events. Another plan is to be part of the You Can Play initiative, which promotes acceptance and equality in sports regardless of sexual preference. We are also trying to figure out ways to better celebrate sportsmanship on campus and increase community service for the surrounding communities.”
Ultimately, the goal of SAAC is to generate more involvement from the athletes and the rest of the study body, whether that is in attendance or community service. As Klein explains, and SAAC members would agree, “creating better school spirit will be great for athletics at Hamilton. If the culture improves, I truly believe teams will thrive off that and that is how winning cultures are established.”