CORTLAND, N.Y. - This past weekend, the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives from across the conference met in Syracuse, N.Y. for their annual spring retreat.
SAAC is a group that every conference and member institution is mandated to have by NCAA legislation. The committee consists of student-athlete representatives nominated by their team. On the institutional level they are able to work with their advisor, usually someone in the athletic department, or a coach to provide insight and concerns on the student-athlete experience at their respective schools. In addition, on the conference level for the SUNYAC, the SAAC offers representatives from each school direct communication with the conference office giving them the ability to address any issues they might be facing on campus as student-athletes as well as getting to have an input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes.
The retreat started Sunday afternoon with the student's arrival and a chance to get to meet and know each other through icebreakers. Later that night, the student's went over to Destiny USA to play laser tag together. This was an opportunity for the student's to let loose, have fun, and get to know each other before their big agenda the next day.
Monday morning the student's got right to business. One of the big topics of discussion was this year's Around the World for Yeardly event. Each school's representative discussed their school's event and any changes they plan to make from last year's A Million Yards for Yeardley event. One of the major themes among all of the schools was the importance of making non-student athletes aware of the event as well as the meaning behind the event. The schools planned to have educational components tied into their event revolving around domestic violence.
Along with the discussion regarding Around the World for Yeardly, the group planned future SAAC events including the next retreat in the fall and discussed their next conference-wide project which will focus on mental health. The group looks to continue their partnership with Special Olympics in the Syracuse area and planned their event with them for the fall. Every student in the room expressed how much the partnership, that not only SAAC has with Special Oympics, but also Division III, means to them. They all felt that it is a life changing experience that they truly love and want to see continue.
At the end of the retreat the student-athletes said their goodbyes to each other and headed back to their campuses. Once they are back on their campuses, the student-athletes will continue to serve as ambassadors and strive to improve the overall student-athlete experience with a fresh set of tools and resources.