MASCAC STUDENT ATHLETE ADVISORY COMMITTEE (SAAC)
2015 MASCAC SAAC Speaker
WORCESTER, Mass. -- The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee hosted Reach Beyond Domestic Violence at their Annual Meeting on Sunday, December 6 at Worcester State.
According to the REACH website, "REACH Beyond Domestic Violence is building healthy communities by ending domestic violence. We are committed to advancing the safety, healing and empowerment of those who experience domestic or relationship violence through direct services and education while promoting social justice for individuals and families of all backgrounds. Our name, REACH (Refuge, Education, Advocacy, Change) reflects our commitment to providing individuals and communities with the resources and tools necessary to heal from abuse and prevent future violence."
Representing REACH as the meeting speaker was Jessica Teperow, the Director of Prevention Programs for the organization. She discussed with the student-athletes her own personal experiences, ways to recognize people close to them who may be privately dealing with issues and also tips on how to intervene if they felt someone was in trouble.
"I was honored to get to join this incredible group of student athletes," Teperow said. "While most people don't want to spend their weekend learning about such a difficult issue, these students had selected domestic violence as the topic they wanted to discuss. In particular, this group wanted to understand what they could do- as peers and as leaders- to safely intervene and prevent instances of intimate partner violence on their campus. Throughout my presentation the group provided great insight and asked thought-provoking questions. It was easy to see that this was a room full of leaders and it was inspiring to watch them thinking about how they can take leadership around such an important and prevalent issue. I don't doubt that the young men and women I met will and can make a tremendous difference in the lives of their friends, teammates, and on their campuses. I look forward to continuing to support and partner with them in this crucial work."
As part of having Jessica present at the meeting, each institution collected donations for REACH which included toiletries, kitchen items, paper products and many other items.
For MASCAC SAAC Vice-President Brittany Driscoll from Massachusetts Maritime, the whole event was a great experience.
"Jessica from REACH shared a great message to all of the student-athletes in the conference," Driscoll said. "She helped to increase awareness of (domestic) violence and ways of detecting it. Her message was appropriate for the audience as domestic violence is an occurring topic, especially for the college generation. The message was spread clearly and can be brought back to the students' campuses."
After the speaker presentation, Kelsey Carpenter, the MASCAC National SAAC Representative discussed upcoming legislation that will be voted on at the NCAA Convention in January.
For more information on REACH Beyond Domestic Violence and how you can get involved, please visit their website reachma.org.
2013 MASCAC SAAC Meeting
WESTFIELD, Mass. – The Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) played host to You Can Play, an organization designed to end homophobia in sports, on December 8 at Worcester State during their annual meeting.
According to their mission statement, “You Can Play is dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and works to guarantee that athletes are given a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport or their team’s success.”
Joining the student-athletes and administrators from around the conference were a panel of three current and former student-athletes who spoke on issues ranging from their own personal experiences to casual homophobia in athletics. After their discussion, the panel opened up for questions from the MASCAC student-athletes.
Worcester State football student-athlete Teddy Ferreira felt having the panel as part of the meeting brought light issues that haven’t previously been talked about in athletics.
"I thought the meeting really helped open up athletes' eyes to some of the problems that occur in sports,” Ferreira said. “The whole concept of casual homophobia is one that to me has never really been addressed in athletics. It always happens, but it never is brought up as an issue to many sports teams. Students and athletes are very aware of what they say, but they see nothing wrong in what they do if certain people do not hear them. It reminds me of John Wooden's quote that states, ‘The true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching.’ In order to better ourselves as athletes and to be respectful of others, we must be conscious of what our words really mean to everyone. In that sense we must address the problem of casual homophobia amongst athletes, so that way everyone can feel accepted as part of a team."
Prior to the panel, the group held their annual meeting to discuss topics from around the eight institutions, including upcoming legislation for the NCAA National Convention in January and the community service project that will be done in 2014-15.
“The meeting with the panel from You Can Play was very well-received by the student-athletes and administrators in attendance from around the conference,” MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann said. “We hope that the information and experiences that were shared are brought back to campus and create further discussion on these very prevalent topics.”
2012 MASCAC SERVICE PROJECT
On Sunday, April 1st, the MASCAC Conference SAAC met at Westfield State University for their annual meeting. In attendance were campus SAAC members and advisors from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Westfield State, Bridgewater State, Salem State, Fitchburg State, Framingham State, and MCLA. The first half of the meeting consisted of institutional introductions and campus SAAC updates. Following lunch, Lori Hendricks presented a workshop on conflict resolution and leadership using the DiSC Assessment tool. Through the DiSC Assessment, student-athletes were able to identify their individual leadership personalities and also recognize other leadership characteristics in others to enable them to work effectively with team members, coaches and as committee members. The workshop ended with an activity that gave the members an opportunity to use the skills that they learned during Lori’s presentation. The SAAC members enjoyed the workshop.
MASCAC SAAC President said “The student-athletes from the MASCAC who were in attendance were enthusiastic and involved in the workshop. Lori Hendricks did a great job engaging the group and everyone walked away having learned something about leadership.”
Next year the MASCAC Conference SAAC will focus on community service and develop ideas for a leadership workshop in 2012.
2011 MASCAC SERVICE PROJECT
Salem, MA -- On Sunday April 3, 2011, Salem State Athletics held its annual Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference's community service project day in support of bullying and domestic violence prevention.
This event, “Kids to College” paired up 27 student-athletes from across the MASCAC with a local youth for a day of athletics, mentoring, and fun. Youth participants from the Boys and Girls Club of Salem and Girls Inc. of Lynn were selected to participate based on their involvement in bullying and domestic violence prevention programs. Each student wrote an essay describing what they can do in their own schools and communities to combat the spread of these issues.
In addition to the day of mentoring and athletic activities that was enjoyed by the participants, the MASCAC student-athletes also held collection drives on their respective campuses leading up to the event. Together they collected and filled 100 backpacks with school supplies and books that will be donated to a local shelter for children in need . The day concluded with a pizza party sponsored by Domino's Pizza of Salem.
MASCAC commissioner Angela Baumann was proud of the effort of the conference's student-athletes and their commitment to this project. “It was a fantastic day of MASCAC student-athletes giving back to the community. On a day where everyone was a winner, the smiles of the participants and our student-athletes said it all.”
The SSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee presented their idea for this event to the MASCAC at the conference's fall SAAC meeting. SSU's project was chosen by their peer leaders from the other MASCAC schools.
MASCAC SERVICE PROJECT
WESTFIELD, MA, April 5, 2009 - They come from different backgrounds, but sports provided a common language for the members of the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference Student-athlete Advisory Committee and the children with special-needs they befriended during the SAAC's recent annual community-service project.
Student-athletes from Westfield State, one of eight MASCAC member schools, suggested that the league work this year with the Unified Sports Program (USP) in hosting a field day for children. USP focuses on children with disabilities, teaching that having friends who are different is an essential life skill.
"We chose this because (sports) was something that we could relate to them with," said Westfield State track and field athlete Marlee Berg, president of the MASCAC SAAC. "Being active is really important, especially today when most kids are sitting in front of a TV."
Approximately 35 MASCAC SAAC student-athletes from the eight MASCAC institutions were involved in the three-hour event, participating along with 45 children in such activities as basketball, baseball, frisbee, hockey and track.
"Our goal is social inclusion through sports," said Steve Berube, USP founder and program director. "We teach kids through sports that ability doesn't matter. We make the special needs kids do the same thing as normal kids.
"The (student-athletes) learn just as much as kids with disabilities," he continued. "We want all kids to learn that having friends that are different is a good thing. It might take us some years, but were getting there."
MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann was pleased with the event.
"The USP runs an outstanding program for the community which integrates students together," she said. "They are very organized and easy to work with. We were very pleased with the outcome of the event and the feedback we received. Both our student-athletes and the USP participants learned alot about sports and life today."
2007-08 MASCAC SERVICE PROJECT
BRIDGEWATER, MA, April 8, 2008 - For the past two years the Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) has created and implemented a community service project to give back to the community.
Community service has been an important theme for all eight state colleges student-athletes both at the college and conference level. Nancy Bals, Westfield Associate Athletic Director said "community service is an essential part of the MASCAC SAAC and it was great to see the student-athletes work together for the community".
Last year the MASCAC SAAC met at Mass Maritime Academy and spent quality time with residents from a senior center. That day meant a lot to both the seniors and the student-athletes.
This year's project theme was from Bridgewater State titled "Support the Troops". The project included collecting items on each campus and working with an organization called CarePacks, for the purpose of putting together care packages for the deserving soldiers in Iraq.
The MASCAC SAAC worked all spring gathering up items to send to the troops in Iraq. On Sunday, April 6, student-athletes from all eight MASCAC Colleges met at Bridgewater State College with organizers from CarePacks from Weymouth, Massachusetts to pack up about 275 boxes which will be sent across the world to the brave military men and women serving in Iraq.
CarePacks is a non-profit organization that is staffed and managed entirely by volunteers that are dedicated to sending care packages to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Founded in 2004, CarePacks' goal is to provide these soldiers with supplies to help improve their morale, mental health, and quality of life, and to remind soldiers that they are remembered by people "back home."
The MASCAC student-athletes care packages contained items with food, personal care items, books and more Each package also contained at least one letter from a college's SAAC.
Many of the men and women serving over in Iraq are about the same age as the student-athletes going to school and competing at the eight state colleges. One of the volunteers commented "although you may not agree with the war you have to support the troops". Student-athletes with friends or families serving were able to pack the boxes and include a hand written note in the CarePacks.
Many of the packages went to service people that haven't received packages. The packages should arrive in 7-10 days and are sure to bring some joy and comfort to the soldiers that are putting their lives on the line. At the end of the day the student-athletes met and brainstormed about ways to improve the sportsmanship across the MASCAC.
2006-07 MASCAC SAAC SERVICE PROJECT
BUZZARDS BAY, MA, April 1, 2007 - The Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) coordinated and participated in a project centered on the themes of learning, leadership and community service.
Student-athletes from each of the eight MASCAC institutions researched ideas and then created a 10-minute Power Point presentation of what they would like the conference SAAC to do for a community service project.
In the fall, each college presented their project to the group and then the student-athletes voted on which of the projects they would like to participate in. When the votes were collected, Massachusetts Maritime Academy's nursing home community service project was the winner.
There were 23 MASCAC SAAC representatives in attendance, including four SAAC advisors. The group met at noon at Mass. Maritime. Two Mass. Maritime MASCAC SAAC members led the group through an informative tour of their ship and answered questions from the visiting student-athletes.
Afterwards, the student-athletes shared some pizza and socialized in the ship's mess deck. Then the MASCAC SAAC headed out to the nursing home to visit and decorate treats with about 30 residents of the Cape Cod Nursing Home in Buzzards Bay.
At the end of the day, the student-athletes left feeling energized from their community service and having had a chance to socialize and build friendships off the court and playing fields with student-athletes from other MASCAC schools, in addition to their educational tour of the Massachusetts Maritime training ship.
As one student-athlete who participated said, "It was great to be there yesterday! The tour of the ship was awesome and the elderly were so friendly!"
The nursing home residents enjoyed sharing desserts and interesting conversation and attention from the MASCAC student-athletes.
"This was an excellent opportunity for the MASCAC student-athletes to give back to the community as well as learn about presentation and event management skills," MASCAC Commissioner Angela Baumann stated.