Dec. 6, 2006
In an effort to highlight the leadership and good works of the student-athletes in the conference, the ACC SAAC began the SAAC in ACCtion initiative to provide on-line articles about the SAAC programs at the league's 12 member institutions. The goal of this initiative is to shed light on the great things our student-athletes are doing to affect significant positive change on campus and in our communities.
Every two weeks, the SAAC leaders from a different school will provide a SAAC in ACCtion update on how their program is getting involved. When reading these articles, we hope that it is evident that their efforts to give back result in so much more.
An integral part of Maryland athletics, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is comprised of 47 student-athletes who represent Maryland's 27 varsity sports. Placing a strong emphasis on community service, Maryland Terrapin student-athletes have donated over 34,000 hours of their time this fall to projects. The projects include Terrapin Enrichment Reading Program (TERP), the Capital Area Bank Canned Food Drive, raising money for the Ronald McDonald Foundation and Race for the Cure as well as the Shawne Merriman and Terps Football Annual Coat Drive.
One of the most successful and popular programs this fall has been the Terrapin Enrichment Reading Program (TERP). The SAAC and Terrapin student-athletes have participated in over 110 hour long visits to 60 different elementary schools in the local area, making TERP a wonderful opportunity to get directly involved in our city's elementary schools and show children at a young age how important the value of education is. "It has been so exciting for these children to receive visits from our student-athletes this fall," said Allison Houseal, SAAC Secretary. "It makes them feel so special and truly excited to learn."
An annual event for Terrapin student-athletes, the Capital Area Bank Canned Food Drive was an enormous success this fall with all 27 varsity sports donating to the needy in the DC Metropolitan area. Through the tireless efforts of the SAAC, their families and loyal fans, over 648 pounds of food was donated during Maryland Madness. "Thank you to the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Maryland," said Ronald Wise, Director of Food Development for the Capital Area Food Bank. "I cannot express how important this event is to the food bank and the 700 agencies that we support."
Overall, the SAAC's contribution, in conjunction with the Terrapin community, helped to feed 774 people in the D.C. Metropolitan area.
In keeping with their record community service involvement this semester, the SAAC and Terps Football in conjunction with former Maryland student-athlete Shawne Merriman, hosted the 4th Annual Shawne Merriman and Terps Football Coat Drive. Countless hours were spent collecting warm winter gear for the needy and, through the generous donations of Maryland fans and families, over 2,200 coats and winter garments were gathered and distributed to the Community for Creative Non-Violence Shelter in Washington, D.C. Additionally, a portion of the donations went to the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Md.
Individually and with the assistance of the SAAC, Terrapin student-athletes have participated in numerous other community service events throughout the fall semester. These events include walking to raise money for local children's hospitals, raising money for the Ronald McDonald foundation, holding youth sporting clinics and camps, raising money for breast cancer and mentoring children in local elementary schools and juvenile justice centers throughout our community.
One of the most important events held in the upcoming spring semester will be National Student-Athlete Day. On this day, the SAAC and Terrapin student-athletes take the opportunity to mentor local junior high school students in the community. National Student-Athlete day is spent promoting education and learning, and leading tours around campus while fostering the community spirit present in all Terrapin student-athletes.
The University of Maryland SAAC continues to aim for record involvement and a greater emphasis on time spent helping our immediate community in the upcoming spring semester.