July 29, 2014
IRVING, Texas - Conference USA hosted its Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives for a Student-Athlete Forum from July 25-27 at the league's headquarters in Irving, Texas. Fifteen SAAC representatives, including Louisiana Tech's Dalane Guidry, participated in a number of interactive presentations with topics ranging from academic success to the role of student-athletes in the new governance structure.
Guidry, who is a native of Youngsville, La., is entering her junior season for the Lady Techster volleyball team as a two-year letterwinner for head coach Adriano de Souza.
The three-day forum allowed representatives to focus on items most relevant to student-athlete welfare, from time demands to overall health and safety. Participants also discussed community service initiatives, including the league's "Let's SAAC Hunger" program, and using social media and branding to create awareness of the mission and goals of SAAC on each campus.
C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky held a roundtable discussion with the group, followed by presentations from NCAA assistant director of academic and membership services Quintin Wright and NCAA assistant director of leadership development Justin Paysinger. The student-athletes themselves served on panels that were recorded and will be available on the C-USA Digital Network.
The SAAC representatives also participated in a community service activity Saturday morning at the Stewpot in downtown Dallas. They were able to help facilitate The Stewpot's Family Stabilization Program by organizing grocery orders and distributing them for pick up for families experiencing serious financial hardship. They also took part in street cleanup and distributing bottled water to the homeless.
"This was another great year with our student-athletes," said C-USA Director of Compliance and Sports Services Frank Arredondo. "In only a few days, the group was able to come together and share insight into their experiences as student-athletes via our C-USA member schools. The group is committed to continually support its mission of developing leaders, promoting opportunities for student-athletes on campus and protecting student-athlete welfare."
"C-USA SAAC members are among the most well-rounded individuals on their respective campuses," added C-USA director of sports services Chris Grant. "We were able to have dynamic conversations about the future of C-USA, top issues currently impacting student-athletes and how we can all strategically work together to continuously improve the student-athlete experience through the C-USA SAAC Strategic Plan."
The SAAC representatives also enjoyed an evening outing to a Texas Rangers baseball game at Globe Life Park. During the game, the representatives engaged in a "Life After Sports" conversation with Rangers executive vice president Joe Januszewski and assistant vice president Breon Dennis.
Conference USA SAAC Representatives attending this year's forum included:
Dan Freeman, Charlotte, Men's Track & Field - C-USA SAAC Chair
Adriana McLamb, FIU, Volleyball - C-USA SAAC External Affairs Chair
Amanda Odoto, Florida Atlantic, Women's Soccer
Dalane Guidry, Louisiana Tech, Volleyball
Chris Jasperse, Marshall, Football
Blaine Sidders, Middle Tennessee, Football
Madison Northcutt, North Texas, Women's Track & Field
Miranda Brown, Old Dominion, Women's Rowing
Christal Porter, Rice, Women's Basketball
Lelland Ducksworth, Southern Miss, Football
Rachel Daniell, UAB, Women's Tennis - C-USA SAAC Vice Chair
Amber Herrera, UTEP, Women's Golf
Ann-Katrin Grotle, UTSA, Women's Soccer
Lauren Muenchow, UTSA, Volleyball
Claire Conlon, WKU, Women's Swimming & Diving - C-USA SAAC Secretary
Chris Evans, North Texas - C-USA SAAC Advisor Chair
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