Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman SAAC Works to Improve Athletic Program

The Student Athletic Advisory Committee, or SAAC, has been hard at work this fall organizing events, hyping up varsity athletic teams and bolstering the athletic community for Whitman and the Northwest Conference as a whole.

The duties of SAAC on campus are vast and span most aspects of Whitman athletics. With two athletes per team participating as SAAC representatives, voices from throughout the athletic program at Whitman are heard. SAAC is responsible for spreading the word about home games and special events that the athletic program puts on, as well as voting on various policies. 

“As a committee, we plan a bunch of different events. For example, we are getting ready to participate in Adopt-A-Family where as an athletic department we are going to sponsor a family for the holiday season. We also do things like raise money for the Special Olympics,” said senior SAAC executive Tiffani Traver. 

That money raised then goes toward the Special Olympics Field Day that SAAC puts on during the spring. There are also events put on for the athletes here, like the Powerade Pong tournament that SAAC hosted last year.

SAAC also has regular meetings to discuss anything pertinent to the athletics programs at the moment. Once per semester, all SAAC programs from the schools in the Northwest Conference meet up and discuss the most important topics relevant to the conference as a whole. The meeting this semester was two weeks ago, and there were three major topics of discussion.

“At the NWC meeting we discuss and vote on National Division III legislation, and our national SAAC representative takes our votes to the National Convention where it is voted in or disapproved,” said senior Meghan White.

Typically there are only a few topics to discuss, as each subject should be applicable to most or all of the schools in the conference.

“This year the main legislation had to do with a new street drug policy, wearing football helmets in spring season and scouting at exhibition games. We also discussed each school’s activities in SAAC which was awesome because we were able to exchange ideas about how to improve our fundraising and add new events,” said White.

There were a couple heated topics that were discussed at the meeting, one of which concerned the football programs at other schools and therefore didn’t apply to Whitman.

“The other semi-controversial topic was about reducing the penalty for a positive ‘street drug’ test (this includes marijuana, but not alcohol). We voted to decrease the sentence from 365 days to 1/2 of the contests of a given season,” said senior Andy Riggs.

Most of the meeting, however, was very positive and constructive, with the representatives breaking up into small groups and discussing different policies and events each individual SAAC was working on.

“This meeting helps generate different ideas for the individual SAACs. We may hear something we really like that another group is doing and bring it back to our own committee at Whitman,” said Traver.

Whitman’s “Athlete Ally” program, which focuses on supporting the LGBT community, was an especially big hit at the NWC meeting.

“The coolest part of this meeting for me was when we introduced our efforts and video with Athlete Ally to the Conference SAAC members who loved our video and look to install Athlete Ally into their institutions. Also, we plan to invite Hudson Taylor, the founder of Athlete Ally, to speak at our next conference meeting,” said White.

The behind-the-scenes work that SAAC does for the athletic program is rarely noticed directly but certainly shows in many aspects of the athletic programs at Whitman.

“The executive committee is really there to bring ideas to the team members that are in the committee but also to listen to the athletes and gather feedback on the different activities that they want to participate in. We then take those ideas and try to make them happen,” said Traver.

Tying together the entire athletic community and further incorporating it into the rest of the Whitman experience is the ultimate goal.

“Our role, put simply, is to make the best use of the varsity athletes to improve the athletic experience here,” said Riggs.

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