SAAC Bridges Gap Between Athletes and Students

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee logo, taken from the group’s Facebook page.

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee logo, taken from the group’s Facebook page.

As the gap between SLC students and athletics widens, SAAC co-chairs Andi Pfau, ‘20, and BJ Sanders, ‘20, are working to join athletes with the Sarah Lawrence and Yonkers community.

SAAC, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is comprised of about 30 members, with two representatives from each sports team. Pfau is a junior on the women’s soccer team, and Sanders is a junior on both the men’s basketball and volleyball teams. The group meet every two weeks to discuss ways to “bridge the gap” between not only the athletic community and the rest of the student body, but also between SLC and Yonkers.

One way that they’ve done that this semester is by volunteering with Public School 30, a Pre-K through 8th grade school in Yonkers. “We go every Tuesday during recess and play with them for about two hours,” says Pfau. They hope to connect with the people in Yonkers and encourage the kids to stay active and enjoy play sports at any age. Pfau also says, “We want to do more work with Yonkers too this year, and find other ways to connect with the community. We also do a day of service every year with all of the teams.”

Another goal of SAAC is to engage the student body in more athletics on campus. Over the course of the year, they hope to have every team sponsor an event aimed towards blending the two communities and boosting school pride.

Last Friday, the women’s volleyball team hosted an event called Dig Pink, raising money for stage 4 Breast Cancer research sponsored by the Side-Out Foundation. They beat their online goal by over one hundred dollars, raising a total of $983, not including cash donations they received at the event. Other upcoming events include a pool party sponsored by the swim team, a homecoming dance at the Blue Room and Midnight Madness sponsored by the basketball team, and a block party. At basketball games this year, they want to start having theme nights, live performances of the National Anthem, and halftime shows performed by students in the Dance department.

Pfau says the teams are also excited about the Godric the Gryphon mascot tryouts coming up:  “We want to have tryouts for the mascot this year, because in the past it’s always been the same person, and now they’re gone and we want more people to get involved and be excited about the mascot.” A mascot, along with a substantial fan section, can make a huge difference in the morale of the team, and in most cases results in their playing better.

On the other hand, SAAC is also encouraging teams to support other communities on campus. Whether it’s going to see friends in theater performances or attending other organized events, the players make sure they don’t live their lives entirely on the field.

“We want to give support to the Sarah Lawrence community, and also get the same support back. … We’re hoping to have an actual fan section this year,” says Pfau.

So if SAAC has been around for years, why haven’t we heard of them before? Pfau says, “We struggled a lot last year with advertising and letting people know about events, everything just comes up so fast. A lot of people said they would’ve gone if they’d known about it.” This issue has been caused in previous years by SAAC being run more by faculty than students, which Sanders and Pfau say that they’re trying to stray away from, finding that planning and events are more successful when the students themselves are involved. They have undoubtedly resolved the issue this year, as the Dig Pink event on Friday was widely advertised through Facebook and email, and had a great turnout. SLC beat Cooper Union 3-0, making it their 4th win of the season.

While in the past SAAC may not have been the most outgoing organization, they are working hard this year to impact the dynamic between our two notoriously polarized communities, and become more active members of the Yonkers community. There’s no doubt that during this coming year, we’ll be hearing a lot of exciting news from SAAC.

Micaela Eckett ‘21

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.