By Andrew Smith
Student athletes have to balance many responsibilities at once. They must remain in top shape for their sport, manage their coursework and potentially keep a job. The last thing they should be concerned about is their experience on the campus and their relationship with the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). To solve these issues, some athletes have taken the initiative to lead the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). This organization is designed to improve the overall student athlete experience at Adelphi.
The organization is led by two co-presidents, Andrew Delaney and Sanne Gilje. Delaney is a graduate student on the men’s basketball team pursuing an MBA in finance, and Gilje is a sophomore physics major on the women’s tennis team.
Gilje reflected on why she decided to take a leadership position in this organization. “I felt encouraged to run for the SAAC position after I attended the DII SAAC Super Region Convention in Pittsburgh as a SAAC representative this spring. Listening to all the great ideas from the other representatives across the region inspired me to try to better the student athlete experience at Adelphi University, too, by taking on a more active role in SAAC.” Delaney added, “I enjoy leading SAAC because I believe we have a unique community of athletes here at Adelphi that are passionate about bringing that community together to support the great initiatives SAAC comes up with.”
While their leadership is just getting started, they have already begun to organize several service events in the local community, such as a Pumpkin Patch event at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau in Garden City, and led a donation to families in need through a partnership with Island Harvest.
Another event they planned was dedicated to Morgan’s Message, the nonprofit organization that promotes mental health awareness in athletes. Adelphi Athletics has been a proud supporter of this organization as they have games dedicated to this issue. In addition, many of the training gear athletes wear have the organization’s logo, which helps further spread mental health awareness on campus. SAAC held a dodgeball tournament dedicated to this organization on Nov. 7 to commemorate NCAA Civic Engagement Day.
In addition, the organization is made up of four different subcommittees: Community Service; Publicity; Health and Wellness; and Diversity and Inclusion. Each committee works together to present ideas at the meetings to support the betterment of the athletic community.
The organization meets once a month to discuss a wide range of topics that are brought up by these subcommittees. These range from event planning regarding the dodgeball tournament, updates on the teams, welcoming a guest speaker or even a discussion with Adelphi Dining.
Another component of what this organization does relies on NCAA voting legislation that is up for decision at the time. Student athlete representatives can vote on newly proposed legislation to ensure they have the best possible college experience.
“Recently, we voted on whether softball should be allowed to play more practice games than they are currently allowed to,” Gilje said. “This affects the student athletes as the total exercise load can become heavier. At the same time, many athletes would also appreciate the extra practice of playing more matches against other teams.”
Delaney also mentioned that students can follow their organization’s Instagram page @adelphi_saac to keep updated with their events and to see our athletes participate in fun interview segments called, “The Panther Pulse.”
Non-athletes can interact with this organization by going to games here on campus and supporting their fellow peers. Delaney said, “It’s always a fun time, and we usually hold giveaways, raffles, T-shirt throws and halftime performances at the games that they can engage in.”