SAAC Continues Efforts Despite No Sports

by Shannon Gleba, Copy Editor  

Despite the cancellation of fall athletic competition at Manhattan College, the college’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, also known as SAAC, has continued to plan events in order to keep student-athlete leaders involved. Under the leadership of softball player Emma Kindblom, the president of Manhattan SAAC for the 2020-2021 academic school year, this semester is going to be filled with many annual events, along with some new virtual activities.

Kindblom, a senior exercise science major, applied to become president of Manhattan SAAC after being part of the committee since her freshman year.  

“I got involved with SAAC my freshman year, and I was just a member, I attended group meetings,” Kindblom said. “Then sophomore year, I was a rep for the softball team, and junior year I was the social chair on the e-board. So, it was not a huge role but I kept progressing my involvement, and this year I am the president of SAAC.”

Erin Prevo, a junior marketing major and member of the volleyball team, had a similar experience when she applied to be vice president of Manhattan SAAC after being involved since 2018.

The MAAC encourages student athletes to register to vote through the Voter Registration Initiative.

“As a freshman I went to all of the meetings, I would get all of the information and bring it back to my team,” Prevo said. “Last year I was the social media chair — I ran the Instagram and Twitter [accounts] — and this year I applied to be VP and I am so happy to be here under Emma.”

Entering these positions during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic changes the way the organization operates, but also opens up a new set of possibilities for athletes to participate virtually. Athletes will be invited to participate in the annual Tunnel to Towers run, Breast Cancer Awareness walk, and a suicide prevention walk, which is a new addition to the SAAC’s lineup of events. The executive board believes there will be an even greater number of athletes looking to get involved because fall athletes no longer have to devote all of their time to training or competing, since the fall season was canceled.

However, what Kindblom and Prevo find to be the most important this year is the initiative to get all student athletes registered to vote, especially for the upcoming presidential election.

“Our main mission is the voter initiative this year,” Prevo said. “We have really been pushing that this year, especially with such an important election coming up. It is easy to say that we should all already be registered, and be active participants in voting, but that just is not the case. As student athletes, this is as big of a time as any to use our voices as student athletes to push our legislation and be active participants.” 

The MAAC at large pushed its members to promote voter registration. In a release by the conference, SAAC Chair Jamie Smith from Iona College’s volleyball team was very passionate about getting student athletes registered.

“We have a unique opportunity as student-athletes to use our platforms to promote positive change in this country,” Smith wrote in the release. “The voter registration initiative aims to do just that by encouraging each of us to exercise our right to vote and to use our voices for impactful change.”

In addition to the MAAC encouraging voter registration, the conference has also pushed for the school’s individual committees to appoint a diversity chair to their executive boards. 

“I think it is good to have that position on the e-board because we do not really have a certain person for that,” Kindblom said. “We all have a good head on our shoulders, and we all know what we want to promote and what not, but I think it is even better to have someone in that diversity chair position.”

At this point in time, the application period for this position at Manhattan has closed, and the community is awaiting an announcement of the student-athlete chosen for the role. Once the selected student athlete takes on this position, Manhattan SAAC is sure to fulfill their goals of encouraging athletes to serve and remain active participants in the community.