(PRESQUE ISLE, ME) -- NOTE: The inaugural NCAA Division III Week is this week (April 9-15). Each day throughout the week, articles will highlight the impact of Division III athletics and the unique Division III student-athlete experience at UMPI, which offers a highly competitive athletics environment, a commitment to academic excellence and leadership/community service/campus involvement. Today in Part 3, we learn more about a group that many people outside of athletics are unaware of: the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
A Student Athlete Advisory Committee is a student organization that works as a liaison between the student athletes and our athletic department by providing an avenue for all athletes to voice any needs or concerns. SAAC also organizes community service projects for student athletes and teams throughout the year as well as positively supports the campus life and academic pursuits of athletes.
To learn a little more about SAAC, we sat down with this year's SAAC President, mens' basketball student-athlete, Patrick Manifold (Jr./Great Yarmouth, UK) and asked a few questions.
What is the purpose/goals of UMPI's SAAC?
PM: SAAC serves as a voice for all student athletes with the athletic administration at UMPI. SAAC represents the student athlete's needs and concerns while also enabling them to become active members in the community.
Why is SAAC's existence important?
PM: It is important because it represents the student athletes and it can be a vehicle of change and a form of protection for them. Without it there would not be a way to directly communicate with the administration.
What are some of the accomplishments of the group?
PM: There have been many smaller accomplishments in SAAC regarding the athletic department, but since I have been president we have had 2 major accomplishments. The first was during the 2010 holiday season where together with help from the whole athletic department, SAAC organized a cereal drive and donated close to 100 boxes of cereal to families in need in Aroostook County. Also, this past holiday season we organized a toy drive, which was extremely successful, over 150 toys were donated and were given out to local children's charities and was extremely well received by both the charities and the children that received them.
What else do you think people should know about SAAC?
PM: It works to improve the athletic experience for everybody involved and is very keen on helping better the community of Presque Isle and the surrounding area.
What are some things you feel SAAC can have an impact on in the near future?
PM: We are planning another cereal drive before the end of the semester, so please look out for that and show your support.
Did You Know?
• Division III student-athletes report greater involvement in volunteering. They also are more likely to report "leadership potential" as an important consideration in choosing a career.
• Division III student-athletes are more likely to report that they see themselves as part of the campus community.
(Source: 2009-2010 CIRP College Senior Survey)