Student Athletic Advisory Committee details new plans for upcoming year

SAAC logo
Courtesy of Lewis & Clark

In February, Lewis & Clark’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) voted on new leadership for the 2024-2025 school year. The organization, a part of the Associated Student Body (ASB), acts as the liaison between student-athletes and LC administration. Bennett Gazor ’25 the current treasurer and president-elect of SAAC, gave some insight into the committee’s role within LC and its vision for the upcoming year. 

“It’s a group of student-athletes that are involved in setting up events, both engaging with the community at Lewis & Clark and then also within athletics as well,” Gazor said. 

Each sports team has two representatives with SAAC that are chosen by the team’s coaches. They are responsible for gathering information from their teammates and presenting them to fellow committee members, as well as the seven-person leadership board.

Alongside representing student-athletes to LC administration, SAAC serves as a connection point for student-athletes to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The NCAA requires every Division III school to have a SAAC in order to represent student-athlete interests. Members vote on NCAA legislation, which impacts college sports nationwide. 

“This year, we voted on some rules that were looking to be passed in certain sports. An example was that D3 was looking to add STUNT and make it a NCAA D3 sport where you can be recruited. We voted on that as student-athletes. There’s also certain legislation that is voted on purely by student-athletes,” Gazor said. 

Besides acting as liaisons and voting on legislation, the NCAA outlines community outreach as one of the main purposes of SAACs. Next school year, LC’s SAAC plans on holding more events for the student body.

“Our biggest goal, besides all the student-athlete only stuff which are our own events that we put on within the athletic department, is bridging the gap between us student-athletes and non-student-athletes: adding more community events, and incorporating student-athletes in more events on campus,” Gazor said. 

Gazor shared an example of a current initiative that reflects these goals.

“We have a system called buddy team points, where each team in athletics has their own buddy team. For example, men’s tennis is with women’s soccer. If you go to an event, like an event in the Career Center, you can get buddy team points for that. So different things that promote interaction in non-student-athlete events,” he said.

Gazor emphasized that SAAC throws events for the entire student body, not just student-athletes. He highlighted the recent food truck in front of Pamplin as the result of a SAAC initiative. 

“I don’t know if you saw this week, but we had a food truck outside of Pamplin. That was one of my first initiatives to promote the community coming together in front of the Glade for everybody … I think it’s extremely important here for people just to come together,” he said. 

Alongside more community-focused events, SAAC hopes to collaborate more often with the Campus Activities Board (CAB), another part of ASB. 

“Last year, we had a massive trivia night in Stamm for everybody. That was successful, but we want to make it bigger and rent out Pamplin. Another is we’re gonna try to get a school-wide dance type of deal, similar to what CAB is doing, and do more collaborations with CAB,” he said. “A lot of that stuff will be determined when we get our budget. We’re going to aim for at least a couple full student body events for each semester.”

Budget increases have enabled more activities to be planned in the last year. Gazor reflected on the impact of SAAC initiatives on the relationship between athletes and non-athletes on campus. 

“I think this is the first year since COVID that SAAC has had a large budget, so we’ve been able to have more of an influence on the community. At least in my eyes, I’m starting to see a bit better integration with a lot of student-athletes and non-student-athletes, and creating this fun, positive atmosphere at Lewis & Clark,” he said.

Gazor emphasized the importance of SAAC as a way to connect student-athletes with the wider campus community. 

“I think having some sort of organization along with CAB to promote our own events, or to have events that promote some sort of engagement is extremely important,” he said. “I’m excited to hopefully make some sort of positive impact on this campus.”

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