Leadership, Advocacy and Service: The Voices of SAAC
The student-athletes who will represent Arizona Athletics on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in 2020-21 tell you their own stories of why they serve and the mission of this important organization. Eric Correa serves as Co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee as a junior member of the the Diving team.
I decided to join SAAC simply because I think it would be a great opportunity for me to build on my leadership skills, as well as give a voice for athletes who feel as if they do not have one. I think it is really important that athletes have a voice. Arizona Athletics has given me such an amazing opportunity to represent them in the pool, so I wanted to represent them outside of the pool as well!
I tried to attend all of the open SAAC meetings last year and the ones I got to go to, they would let us split up into different subcommittees that we were interested in. The Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee group always had the least amount of members, and that is what it originally attracted me to it. Once I met with that subcommittee multiple times, I knew that I wanted to be involved with Diversity and Inclusion in the future. Diversity and Inclusion is such a focal point to me and SAAC because it starts with education, lots of people do not know a lot about all of the different cultures and sexualities that make up our athletic department as well as our world we live in. As a Hispanic and openly gay athlete, I think it is really important to have inclusion throughout all teams. I am so grateful to have a loving, open-minded team and staff that support me in everything I do, and I want all athletes to feel like they can be their true selves and grow to their fullest potential.
In October we will be addressing a new group that will be for athletics called Athlete Ally, it is an LGBTQ+ organization that has created chapters at multiple other schools and I thought Arizona would be perfect for it. This will be a safe space for anyone and everyone and will help educate student-athletes about LGBTQ+ people. All athletes are welcome to join! My subcommittee is taking part in NCAA's social media campaign about diversity as well later in the fall. We also are aiming to do things for different heritage months as well.
Some of my goals for being in SAAC this year are to try and think outside of the box since so many things are limited this year because of the pandemic. I think this will help me to be more creative with ideas that I share with my subcommittee as well as the entire SAAC team. I want to practice my collaboration skills by working with other people in SAAC to accomplish a project or goal.
I tell other student-athletes that SAAC is so important because it is the voice for all athletes. This group is compiled of at least one representative from each sport, so it is really interesting to hear different issues or concerns athletes from other sports outside of your own. I also would tell them it is a great stepping stone to practice leadership skills along with group work!
SAAC EXECUTIVE BOARD
Bryce Wolma - Co-President - Football
Sam Thomas - Co-President - Women's Basketball
Trevor Volpe - Co-Chair of Career and Leadership Development - Track & Field
Jordan Geist - Co-Chair of Career and Leadership Development - Track & Field
David Laskin - Co-Chair of Health and Wellness - Men's Golf
Noah Reid - Chair of Community Service - Swimming & Diving
Victoria Navarro - Co-Chair of Diversity and Inclusion - Swimming & Diving
Eric Correa - Co-Chair of Diversity and Inclusion - Swimming & Diving
Merle Weidt - Co-Chair of Health and Wellness - Volleyball