Ava Compagnoni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanksgiving is around the corner, and Ursinus’ Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) has encouraged student-athletes to get in the giving spirit. The Executive Board of SAAC has organized and is currently promoting a social media spirit week leading up to their annual Thanksgiving food drive.
For those unfamiliar with SAAC, it is “The Ursinus College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) … an organization of student-athlete leaders who represent the best interests of the student-athlete experience at Ursinus College, within the Centennial Conference and within the NCAA Division III,” according to the Ursinus College website. SAAC has representatives across all sports teams who come together to meet and discuss how to improve athletic unity and the community.
The week following Homecoming weekend was Spirit Week, where teams would post on their social media accounts themed pictures corresponding with SAAC’s schedule. Monday, November 1st, kicked off spirit week with Mindfulness Monday! Numerous teams posted pictures of how their student-athletes practice mindfulness with small actions throughout the day to make day-to-day life as a student-athlete less stressful. Teams posted selfies at lifts, practice, class, and even in dorm rooms for Teammate Tuesday! Wardrobe Wednesday allowed all teams to show off their team and UC swag. SAAC’s Instagram was bleeding the colors of red and gold along with smiley faces. Throwback Thursday allowed everyone to see their teammates before the collegiate level, snapshots of athletes playing their sport in childhood slugger or high school days. Finally, Fanatic Friday promoted unity across all team sports. Teams were encouraged to swap gear to represent how UC athletic Bears support each other, no matter the team name on their jersey.
Especially for student-athletes out of season, Noah Mandel ‘23, a member of Men’s Tennis, believes spirit week is a good time to bond before the approaching spring season. “Spirit week is one of my favorite things that SAAC does. All teams can spend more time together bonding, especially for our teams, off the court and outside of the gym. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with other student athletes on other teams.”
SAAC’s Thanksgiving Drive has been successful every year, but always set themselves a higher goal to encourage more participation. Students can donate canned goods, boxed goods, toiletries, and blankets to those in need this holiday season. Associate Athletic Director Marqus Hunter, is joyous about these two events. “These two initiatives serve as great opportunities for our student-athletes and coaches to rally around a common cause that stretches beyond sports….the food drive, in particular, shows us the power of joining forces to serve others in our greater community,” Marqus stated. The drive donations go towards the Daily Bread Community Food Pantry, which is a local food pantry in Collegeville.
If every student-athlete donates one pound of food, their total 600 pound goal will be surpassed. Additionally, SAAC is hoping students outside of the athletic community will donate too since the drive is not restricted only to SAAC members and student-athletes. Collection boxes are inside and outside of the Fitness Center and Marqus Hunter’s office in Coaches Row in the Floy Lewis Bakes Center.