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SAAC organizes athletes

by Ano Puchalski, staff writer


The purpose of HPU’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Club is to try and build a sense of community within HPU athletics. It’s an organization that allows athletes to come together in confidentiality to ask questions about anything that may be affecting them, and to hopefully have those questions answered.

The SAAC Club is a RIO (Registered Independent Organization) at HPU. According to NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) rules, every athletic institution must have a SAAC organization for athletes.

Barbara Burke


SAAC advisor and student athlete/faculty representative, Barbara Burke, asks coaches to choose a representative from their team to attend monthly meetings which are open to all athletes.

The chosen team representatives then choose one or two people to help organize meetings and address some of the more pressing issues such as individual athletes difficulties with coaches, special treatment of certain players by coaches, and bending the rules for certain players but not the rest of the team.

Sandra Brunke

Every month representatives from each of HPU’s 10 sports programs get together with Burke to discuss some of the challenges affecting athletics.

Burke tries to address those questions and offer insight into a few of the broader topics that athletes aren’t familiar with like NCAA rules, questions on sexual harassment, and issues about discrimination.

She also informs student athletes of their rights and what they can do or where they can go if they feel their rights aren’t being respected.

SAAC encourages athletes to get involved with both the school and community by hosting events like HPU’s annual Halloween Hoopla.

This years SAAC Club presidents are Jennifer Baron (softball) and Sandra Brunke (volleyball).
“ We also discuss service projects that we would like to be involved in and organize get-togethers to get to know other student athletes,” said Baron.

Baron is a junior majoring in business. She is also the designated hitter/outfielder for HPU’s softball team, and has been the SAAC club representative for her team for the past three years.

“ We try and figure out what can bring people out to games,” said Baron, “and we try to get student support as well.”

“ SAAC receives $500 each year from HPU’s Associated Students of HPU, in addition to ‘help’ from the athletic department,” Baron said.

At their monthly meetings, SAAC members decide what type of projects they will spend their money on, and how it will benefit HPU’s sports program for the future.

One of their current projects is to create a Web site that will allow them to share information about the HPU club with other SAAC clubs in the Pacific West Region.

Another project SAAC has in the works is a coin-drive fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a NCAA Division II sponsored organization. This will take place at the start of the spring semester.

The fundraiser will be a popularity contest where five or more jars will be set up, each with the name and picture of an HPU faculty/staff member on it. Whichever one of the jars raises the most money, the person on that jar will have to dance with HPU’s dance team during half-time at an HPU basketball game in February.

All proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish foundation, an organization established in 1980, to try and help children with life-threatening illnesses make one of their wishes come true.

Nominations of a particular HPU staff/faculty member to be placed on a coin jar can be e-mailed to SAAC Club co-president, Jennifer Baron at


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