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More Than An Athlete: SAAC Awareness

When people think of basketball players they often think of slam dunks and points scored. For other sports such as baseball most think home runs and pitching. However, it seems that many people forget that when the athlete walks off of the field or court they live a totally different life.

Often times the warrior that’s on the soccer field, such as Maggie Neiswanger on the women’s soccer team, screaming, fighting, and living in the glory is often the quiet student sitting in the corner of the classroom, contributing to community service, or in this case participating in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

What most people do not know, at Saint Peter’s and outside of this institution, is that student athletes are not simply just students and athletes. Student athletes are part of a larger collective group and organization that does more than win games.

Ashton Kuchera volunteering for the Global Outreach program in Ecuador. Photo Credit – Ashton Kuchera.

“SAAC, standing for Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, is a committee of student-athletes whose goal is to represent the best interests of the student-athlete body as a whole,” described SAAC President Adam Purcilly. As members of this organization student athletes work towards increasing support for athletic teams through different marketing techniques, organizing community service projects such as trips to the Hoboken Soup Kitchen and NJ Food Bank for each team every semester, and providing feedback on NCAA legislation.

SAAC allows student athletes to be a part of something that is bigger than simply just class and games. As described by Purcilly, it allows them to have a voice and enhance the athletic experience at their specific institution. Performing community service activities each semester encourages student athletes to continuously give back and set higher standards outside of the court or classroom.

“The administration has been excellent, both so far this year and in years past, about listening to our ideas and implementing our initiatives. Without their support, we could not represent the student-athlete body to the best of our abilities,” Purcily noted. With the support of the entire university community, the initiatives and goals of SAAC will keep moving forward.

The two main goals for SAAC are to give back through community service in a more impactful manner and to continue to grow the Code Blue initiative.

Kuchera volunteering in Ecuador. Photo Credit – Ashton Kuchera.

“In this project, we are designating one specific game per team that will be the Code Blue game. At this game, all of the student-athletes will attend wearing Code-Blue t-shirt to support the team. We are hoping that this will rub off on the rest of the college community and will encourage them to attend more athletic events,” describes Adam Purcilly.

The purpose of Code Blue is to create a greater sense of unity within the whole college community through athletic events. Lastly, continuing with the Jesuit Ideal of “men and women for others,” every team looks to perform bigger, more impactful, and enriching community service projects in both the fall and spring semesters.

Being a student-athlete at Saint Peter’s University represents more than scoring goals and getting home runs. The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee offers bigger opportunities to student athletes as well as creates a better sense of pride within the institution itself. With the greater exposure of SAAC initiatives, both student athletes and members of the University community can create an experience that can turn into new traditions for the entire University. SAAC allows student-athletes to be more than a clutch player and excellent student, it allows them to be more than simply just a student-athlete.


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