Student-Athlete Advisory Committee outlines goals with no sports in sight

The+Student-Athlete+Advisory+Committee+convened+for+the+first+time+since+the+spring+to+discuss+goals+for+the+rest+of+the+academic+year.+SAAC+is+a+coalition+of+leaders+from+the+university%27s+22+sports+teams+who+engage+in+community+service+and+leadership+initiatives.+Pictured%3A+Cal+Lutheran+Strength+and+Conditioning+Assistant+Coach+Lucas+Quinn+trains+student-athletes+outside+at+a+park+in+Thousand+Oaks%2C+CA.

Photo Courtesy of Lucas Quinn

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee convened for the first time since the spring to discuss goals for the rest of the academic year. SAAC is a coalition of leaders from the university’s 22 sports teams who engage in community service and leadership initiatives. Pictured: Cal Lutheran Strength and Conditioning Assistant Coach Lucas Quinn trains student-athletes outside at a park in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Alijah Hernandez, Reporter

On Sept. 30, California Lutheran University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee reconvened for their first meeting of the year via Zoom, where leaders of 12 teams discussed potential community service opportunities and plans to navigate the uncertain future of sports.

“I think the meeting was a very productive way to start off the year. Though the meeting isn’t taking place in person as we all wish it was, it was refreshing to see everyone’s face and to hear that everyone is excited for the upcoming year regardless of circumstances,” Jaclyn Holtz, Women’s Swimming & Diving SAAC representative, said in an email interview.

SAAC is a committee of leaders from the university’s 22 sports teams that meets regularly to plan service projects and events and promote unity amongst student-athletes.

Kevin Judd, Men’s Volleyball head coach and SAAC club advisor, said the pandemic is the deciding factor in which activities the SAAC can participate in.

“It’s been a lot of learning right now and a lot of patience,” Judd said.

In a phone interview, Parker Jory, SAAC president and senior Cal Lutheran Men’s Water Polo player, said it was nice to meet as a group and pick up from where they left off in the spring.

This was the first time since spring that the SAAC was able to discuss what their respective teams and the group can do within the parameters of state and county health guidelines.

Judd said he is working to set up community service and fundraising opportunities with organizations SAAC has worked with in the past, including Go Gold for Kids with Cancer.

“I’ll probably send you guys more information about setting up a CLU SAAC website where we can ask our friends, teammates, coaches, family friends about trying to raise some money to make it a better environment for the kids, maybe make some of their dreams come true,” Judd said during the meeting.

Despite only having 12 of 22 team representatives present, the group voted on their 2020-2021 President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer.

“We only [normally] pick leadership positions in the spring, but since we couldn’t do that because of COVID, we had to get that out of the way [during the first meeting this fall],” Jory said.

The representatives voted via Zoom poll, electing Winston Hewes, junior on Cal Lutheran’s Men’s Swimming & Diving team for Secretary/Treasurer, Cate Boller, senior Women’s Soccer player for Vice President and Jory for President.

Judd later opened the floor to ask for suggestions from the student-athlete leaders on any additional activities they may be interested in.

“Reaching out, brainstorming different ideas, being creative, coming up with our own or possibly stealing from what works for other schools and bringing it in. Just trying to do something to bring ourselves to find and do something fun as a group however we can,” Judd said.

Jory said his main goal this year is to “just kind of help [others].”

Boller echoed this sentiment.

“I know we have a friend on the Volleyball team who has a father with [Lou Gehrig’s disease] and I think that we as a committee can really use our [platform] to help her and her family,” Boller said.

Coach Judd wrapped up the meeting by reminding athletes to complete the necessary paperwork, including physicals and NCAA athletic agreements, despite sports not yet practicing. 

“I’m looking forward to the different ways we can represent the student-athletes at Cal Lu given our current circumstances. Even though we can’t meet in person, I think we will find ways to be more connected than ever,”  Holtz said.