By Nafeesa Connolly
The Simmons Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is back in action, planning new events, working with new faces, and seeing a new structure.
SAAC, a group of 23 Sharks student-athletes selected to represent their respective teams, serve as a liaison to the Simmons Athletic Department and student-athletes, giving Sharks a voice within the department.
For the 2013-2014 academic year, this column will highlight the committee’s events and projects, including ways for students and student-athletes to get involved.
The committee’s first meeting was held Sunday, Sept. 15, in the Sharks team room. The committee was greeted by Director of Athletics Ali Kantor and met Assistant to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Commissioner Ramim Bhuiya.
With the addition of 13 new members and nine returning, the committee will be using a non-traditional approach to their structure this year.
Rather than an executive board comprised of a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer, SAAC will be divided into four committees where each one will plan a major event for the semester.
The committees include athletic programming, community service, fundraising, and home game programming. Created by the coaches and staff, the new structure will allow members to be more engaged and accountable during their membership.
The committee’s main focuses will continue to be community outreach, including the Simmons community, and service, while enhancing the student-athlete experience.
To do so, the committee will open the meetings, after general SAAC, to the entire student-athlete community to discuss issues, recommendations, and other topics of interest.
Additionally, the committee will also work on strengthening the participation and communication with faculty, beginning with the teams’ Faculty Liaisons. The Faculty Liaison Program was launched to allow student-athletes to build relationships with faculty over their four years at Simmons, supporting the link between academic and athletic success.
Each varsity sport for the college has a Faculty Liaison, such as soccer’s Associate Professor of Chemistry and Physics Jennifer Canfield, who also serves as the NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) for Simmons.
The Sharks SAAC will have their next meeting on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 5 p.m. to provide feedback, issues, or comments, please drop me a line at Nafeesa.firstname.lastname@example.org.