A whole ‘nother ballpark

Student Athlete Advisory Committee to be formed

Nohea Waiwaiole

Staff Writer

The new Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at Oregon Tech aims to connect athletes with the Klamath Falls community while increasing athletic department unity and leadership roles among student athletes. The SAAC is being built by Athletic Director Greg Stewart and will consist of two members from each sport as well as two representatives from the local Oregon Tech SAAC to be part of the Cascade Collegiate Conference SAAC.

“The SAAC is a leadership group made up of members from each of our sports teams,” said Stewart. “Their function and focus will be to make recommendations with regards to improving our athletic department as a whole, with an emphasis on servant leadership through various community outreach programs.”

The goal is to further integrate student athletes into the Klamath Falls community by making servant leadership the norm at Oregon Tech.

“As student athletes I think we owe it to the community to give back,” said Quim Valve, a sophomore on the men’s basketball team. “Fostering relationships with the community will only benefit us as athletes, since so many of the community members are such supportive fans and donors to Tech’s athletic programs.”

The two members of each sport will meet with the SAAC on a regular basis to discuss ideas and opportunities for community outreach and ways to improve the athletic department in general. Then each SAAC member will be responsible for reporting back to their respective teams to communicate goals with their teammates and coaches.

The SAAC will be a great opportunity for student athlete’s voices to be heard and make decisions regarding the community, athletic department, and leadership at Oregon Tech. The SAAC can also be used as a tool for the administration and other student led organizations on campus to further communicate and coordinate with the athletic department.

A few student athletes have already been exemplifying the vision for SAAC, such as Morgan Roberts-Ili and Wes Loy. Both students have been working with Klamath Falls schools to influence healthy habits by using Tech student athletes to connect with local students.

Loy worked with student Michael Burton to develop a Cafeteria Role-Model program through the health care management program as an internship. Loy gathers other athletes to spend time with students at Mills Elementary during lunch and encourage them to eat their fruits and vegetables. Incentives such as stamps, smoothie parties, and t-shirts are used to encourage children to form healthier eating habits at an impressionable age. The program is also helping eliminate food waste.

Roberts-Ili is working with two P.E. classes at Ponderosa Middle School to improve the physical activity levels and attitudes towards physical activity of students. Another goal of her program is to bridge relationships between Tech athletes and the community. Roberts-Ili gathers a small group of student athletes on a weekly basis to attend a P.E. class and show the students athletic drills related to the sports they compete in at Oregon Tech. Roberts-Ili developed the project through the applied psychology major.

Both Loy and Roberts-Ili have experienced trouble finding athlete volunteers to help with their projects. Scheduling availability, lack of organized communication, and lack of student athlete commitment have all been troubles faced by Loy and Roberts-Ili. Hopefully such issues will be better managed and negated with the future development of the Oregon Tech SAAC.

Roberts-Ili and Loy’s projects are both examples of simple volunteering opportunities presented for student-athletes. Out of the nearly four hundred student athletes at Oregon Tech, it should not be such a challenge to find a few athletes on a monthly/weekly basis to give up ninety minutes of their time.

The SAAC would hope to present an organized means of infrastructure and communication to avoid such issues, while also establishing a new expectation of servant leadership amongst student athletes at Oregon Tech. One idea is for coaches to even mandate a certain number of community service hours per year for student athletes.

Both Roberts-Ili and Loy are looking for students who are interested in taking over their projects for the following 2017-2018 school year, preferably in the health care management or psychology majors. Loy’s internship is paid by grants and Roberts-Ili’s project could also become a paid position through grants if further developed. For those possibly interested in undertaking the perspective projects please contact wes.loy@oit.edu or morgan.roberts@oit.edu for more information.

For student athletes interested in contributing to the SAAC please communicate with head coaches, contact Greg Stewart at greg.stewart@oit.edu or contact Nohea’ililani Waiwai’ole at noheaililani.waiwaiole@oit.edu .


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