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Student-athletes promote community service

October 21, 2011

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has its annual Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods event the week of Oct. 24 through the 30.

SAAC is a student driven committee, said faculty advisor Crystal Lanning. The group’s overall mission is to promote student-athletes as good citizens and role models, Lanning said. The group consists of two representatives from every varsity sport but sometimes involves every student-athlete from every team as well as coaching staff, said SAAC President John Bullis, who plays for men’s hockey.

The Trick-or-Treat for Canned Goods is by far SAAC’s biggest event, said Bullis. The complete Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) participates in this event, and UW-River Falls has been in the top WIAC schools for collecting the most. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 30 SAAC is asking that all varsity athletes participate in going door-to-door in the community asking for canned goods and non-perishable items.

“Every athletic team participated in this event last year and it keeps getting bigger and better. Last year 248 athletes from many teams helped, my numbers here say we collected 3,148 pounds total,” Bullis said.

Last year UWRF was the top school in the conference for collecting the most canned goods and non-perishable items, said Lanning. SAAC will also be collecting food items throughout the week of Oct. 24 through the 30 at home varsity events.

Janae Baron is a junior representative for soccer in SAAC. She said that each event SAAC puts on impacts the community as well as the members involved. “I feel that once you participate in an event, you will get the urge to want to be more involved in other events. It has been a great door that has opened up new relationships with other teams as well as staff members,” Baron said.

Other events this year include Kids Night Out in December, where parents can drop off their kids on campus for games, sports and movies with athletes from all different sports while parents can go holiday shopping or run errands. Another winter event is a polar plunge that UWRF is partnered with the Special Olympics for. Lanning said all of Division III athletics are partnered with the Special Olympics.

According to the UWRF Athletic’s website, the group’s purpose is to enhance the image of student-athletes on campus as well as in the community by engaging in service projects and be role models for their peers and younger athletes.

As a whole, SAAC encourages more involvement from the student-athletes in campus and community projects. They encourage academic achievement, health promotion, social responsibility and general awareness, Bullis said.

“I also wanted to highly encourage athletes to attend as many different sporting events as possible and have camaraderie with other teams. In the end, we are on the same team because we are all wearing a Falcon on our jersey and representing Falcon athletic pride,” said Bullis.