The Emory & Henry College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee spent the final weeks of the fall semester working not only to finish strong in the classroom but to make a difference in the community. The purpose of the NCAA-affiliated organization is to provide leadership and to be a voice for the student-athlete body at large. Each of Emory & Henry’s 13 intercollegiate teams are represented on the board, which numbered 29 at the close of the fall semester.
As a part of NCAA Division III’s nation-wide campaign with Special Olympics, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference has gone into partnership with Special Olympics Virginia. The E&H SAAC kicked off its efforts with the annual Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day.
The event took place on Wednesday, December 7 during the Wasps’ men’s basketball game against the Pride of Greensboro College. In addition to door prizes given to various employees of Emory & Henry, the SAAC had t-shirts designed to commemorate the event with proceeds going to benefit Special Olympics Virginia. The group raised nearly $200 for Special Olympics Virginia and also plans to send several t-shirts to the organization’s headquarters.
“It was great to see so many students, faculty and staff members in the stands. The atmosphere was electric,” said Josh Parmenter, Head Women’s Tennis Coach and SAAC Advisor. “I saw every member of the SAAC either working the t-shirt table, welcoming faculty and staff, or supporting the team in the stands. This is a credit to each of them, and it also is a reflection of the strong leadership of President Samantha Lucado and Vice President Ross Ellis.”
The SAAC also took it upon itself to help those less fortunate during the Thanksgiving season. In conjunction with Feeding America, the Emory & Henry community collected 336 pounds of food over the course of a two-week period prior to Thanksgiving. The donations were large enough for Feeding America Southwest Virginia, which has offices in Abingdon and Salem, to provide over 250 meals to those who might go without.
“The food drive was a huge success and we were able to get participation from every sports team on campus,” said junior football player and SAAC Vice President Ross Ellis. “The campus really came through, and it feels good to have helped so many people during the holiday season. Being able to do things like this makes us proud to be Waspers.”
“These are the sorts of projects that require creativity, initiative, and significant advanced planning,” added Parmenter. “For our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to pull together events of this magnitude at such a busy time in the semester is nothing short of amazing. I think this speaks to the how much our student-athletes value the work of Special Olympics Virginia and Feeding America.”