Making a difference

Student-Athlete Advisory CouncilPenn State Altoona’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) kicked off the 2017-18 academic year on a strong note by getting involved in many new community service activities.

SAAC is comprised of representatives from each of Penn State Altoona’s 14 NCAA Division III teams. The mission of SAAC is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunities for all, protecting the welfare of student-athletes, and fostering a positive image of Penn State Altoona’s varsity teams and their members. By maintaining the tenants of the NCAA Division III philosophy, the SAAC group gives student-athletes at Penn State Altoona a voice within the Athletics program while prioritizing the well-rounded student and encouraging strong performances in the classroom, community, and within athletics.

The leadership group for SAAC in the 2017-18 year consists of senior Shoshana Mahoney (president / women’s soccer), junior Kelsey Bristol (vice president / women’s volleyball), sophomore Finnley Christine (secretary / women’s basketball), and senior Justin Bannister (parliamentarian / men’s volleyball, men’s swimming). David McGreal, head coach of the Penn State Altoona men’s basketball team and SAAC staff advisor, is excited about the potential this group holds for the remainder of the academic year.

“We have a great group of student-athlete leaders representing all of our varsity athletic teams,” McGreal said. “We are really looking to make a difference within our community and campus this year through our involvement with many different agencies at Penn State Altoona and in Blair County.”

Penn State Altoona’s SAAC has participated in several events and activities so far this year including a “Beach Bash” event in November that raised money for the Family Resource Center at the United Way of Blair County and a canned food drive for hurricane relief efforts of the American Red Cross. SAAC members also participated in an autism awareness walk hosted by Autism Speaks at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona.

The group continues to work with kinesiology professor Johannes Raabe to create a sports psychology outlet for student-athletes on campus and plans to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Blair County during the spring semester.

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