Tufts University Athletics Student-Athlete Advisor Committee (SAAC)

The Tufts University SAAC serves as a voice for student-athletes with-in the Tufts Community. The SAAC serves as a vehicle to enhance the interests of students-athletes to the administration. The goal of the SAAC is to provide communication between athletes, coaches and administration, to enrich the Tufts community, and foster a positive student-athlete image and experience.

President: Summer Horowitz

Vice President: Zach Halliday

Treasurer: Owen Elliott

Secretary: Alexa Pius


Fan the Fire- Allie Dorneo and Alexa Meltzer

Callie Nowak
Lucas Johnson
Jackie Knapp
Tori Rudnicki
Matea Friedel
Tom Palleschi
JP Garcia
Auric Enchill
Jerald Ross Wood
Chandler Coble
Angela Yu

SAAC Development- Lauren Louks and Natalia Kastenberg

Arielle Mann
Sammy Siciliano
Annie Artz
Anna Gooch
Danny Coran
Zach Merchant
Alec Goodrich
Colleen Doolan
Wendy Dyer

Social Media & Promotions- Drew Madsen and Erin Sanders

Dexter Eichhorst
Claudia Udolf
Pat Lackey
Alan Litman
Ethan Chen
Maria Dattalo
Hannah Burns

Community Engagement- Sarah Corning and Franchesca Burgos

Sabina Van Mell
Julia Fuller
Jamie Corley
Luke O’Connor
Tyler Hagedorn
Michael Leary
Aaron Corn
Ptah Osayande

Sportsmanship & Policy- Alex Kim and Luca Guadagno

Margaret Veltri
Will Shackelford
Speros Varinos
Taylor Nathanson
Lauren Dillon
Toluwanimi Akinyemi

SAAC Subcommittees:

The Tufts SAAC is broken up into five sub-committees: Fan the Fire, SAAC Development, Community Engagement, Sportsmanship & Policy, and Social Media & Promotions Together these groups serve as the structure for the SAAC to help reach its goals in the present and the future. Sub-committees are run by members of the executive board and work together to promote and achieve the image of the SAAC.

Fan the Fire

The Fan the Fire committee promotes and organizes sporting events on campus. The goal of Fan the Fire is to bring sports, spirit, and service altogether, building the community into “One Tufts”. Members of this committee promote good school spirit, encourage other students to attend these events, and connect with groups and charities around the area to expand the SAAC network.

Through the outlet of athletic events, Fan the Fire strives to increase school spirit and garner a sense of Jumbo pride within the Tufts community. Every year, Fan the Fire sponsors various sporting events that highlight important games among different teams. Partnering up with a charity or service organization that is significant to our community, students, and our players, Fan the Fire works to recognize philanthropic organizations relevant to the Tufts campus. During our football event in the fall of 2013, we partnered with the Alzheimer’s association in honor of Corey Burns’ family, a current member of Tufts Football. In the winter of 2013-2014, Fan the Fire partnered with the heart association in recognition of a member of the men’s basketball team who was undergoing surgery, placing the event on Valentine’s Day to culminate our “heart theme.” Every year, the student athletic advisory committee promotes at least three games, each one highlighting a different sport and service. Having these events to remind the Tufts Student Body of the importance of not only our athlete’s devotion to the game and their teams, but also to their community and their service. Through every event, Fan the Fire works to give not only the players, but the entire student body, something to cheer for.

SAAC Development

SAAC Development is in charge of promoting the image of SAAC to other students on campus, to develop the student leaders within SAAC.  Members of this group spread awareness about SAAC through talking with freshmen in pre-orientation and orientation groups. This group is also in charge of bringing guest speakers to campus and ordering the attire for SAAC members.

SAAC Development has introduced a number of new and exciting initiatives in the 2014-2015 school year! The committee piloted the Brother/Sister team program, pairing each varsity team with another team of the opposite season and gender. With the motto, “We are Jumbo Pride,” the initiative seeks to strengthen bonds within the athletic community. The initiative has proven to be highly successful, with Brother/Sister teams attending each other’s home games, posting supportive photos and videos to Facebook when teams are on the road, and planning bonding activities off the playing field. SAAC Development has continued the SAAC Speaker Series, bringing Katie Hnida, the first female athlete to score in a Division I football game, to Tufts in the fall. Her powerful story about the trials and tribulations of participating in a male-dominated sport drew a large audience from all sectors of the Tufts community. The SAAC Development committee is excited to bring another speaker to Tufts before second semester’s end. The committee is looking to recruit a speaker who embodies the NESCAC-wide theme of wellness. Additionally, SAAC Development, in partnership with Assistant Athletic Director, Branwen Smith-King, is conducting a series of leadership development workshops for SAAC members and team captains. Finally, SAAC Development is planning an end of the year athlete appreciation banquet, complete with a barbeque, fun contests, and unconventional awards.

Community Engagement

This committee helps organize and promote the community service events sports teams are doing on campus and in the community. Members of this group will work to connect with other local charities, along with keeping the strong ties with current groups in the area. In the past the Community Engagement Committee has worked with organizations such as Level the Field, Cradles to Crayons, and Adopt a Family. This year, the Community Engagement Committee is focusing its efforts to partner with the Special Olympics and Tufts’ own Group of 6.

Level the Field
Middle school students in East Somerville have a unique opportunity to work with high-achieving collegiate student-athletes on various varsity teams at Tufts. Level The Field works to foster communication, teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership through the platform of sports. These values are developed through intercollegiate athletic contest, sports clinics, and classroom instruction. http://www.levelthefieldnyc.org/

Cradles to Crayons
This program provides homeless and low-income children with the essentials to thrive—to feel safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued. New and like-new children's items are collected through grassroots community drives and corporate donations. Donations are then processed and packaged by volunteers, and are distributed to disadvantaged children across the state through a collaborative network of social service agencies and school partners. These meaningful, tangible volunteer opportunities engage thousands of families and individuals and hundreds of corporations each year, which helps lay a foundation for lasting change.http://cradlestocrayons.org/

Adopt a Family
In conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF), Tufts' Athletics Department shared the true spirit of the holiday season with 13 local families this past December. Teams and department staff donated more than $4,200 for holiday gifts delivered directly to families. While players raised money, went shopping for the gifts, and donated other toys, members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and department staff teamed up for a massive gift-wrapping session.

Check out some projects that teams at Tufts are getting involved in:

Team Impact
Tufts Sailing takes part in Team Impact with a seven year old on the team naked Ethan Cafferky.  In the spring, shortly after the snow melt the team mobilizes for a day to do a massive clean-up of the Mystic Lakes Reservation which stretches over a mile along the two lakes.

Field Hockey:
Big Sisters of Boston
Big Sister Association of Greater Boston’s mission is to help girls realize their full potential by providing them with positive mentoring relationships with women.

Play4theCure is dedicated to raising funds for National Foundation for Cancer Research through recreational sports clubs, middle schools, high schools and collegiate sporting events nationwide.

Malden River Festival
Cohost for the Annual Malden River Festival and Dragon Boat Races the 3rd Saturday in September. We have been running this event at the boathouse site for five years and cohost with Malden TriCap, Preotle Lane and Associates. Tufts University Community Relations is also actively involved in this project. The event has grown from a small activity with. 800 spectators to a major Fesitval with over 5,500 spectators in five short years.  Crew members volunteer over 400 hours of service for the event and are responsible for setup and takedown  of the event site, manning the food tables, judging the art exhibits, coordinating the acts and entertainment, and running the Dragon Boat races and setting up the race course. We also produce the awards for the participants.

Men’s XC/T&F:
Big Brothers
For more than 60 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay has worked to ensure that every child has the support from caring adults that they need for healthy development and success in life. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers ("Bigs") and children ("Littles"), ages 7 through high school graduation, in communities across Massachusetts Bay. We develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.

Swimming and Diving:
Swim Lessons
Members of the Tufts Swimming and Diving men's team teach swim lessons to local kids in the Somerville/Medford area in the fall and spring.

Ted Mullin “Hour of Power”
Two primary goals of the "Hour of Power" event are to raise awareness of sarcoma and generate funds for research conducted at the University of Chicago into finding treatments and cures for sarcoma, the type of soft-tissue cancer that took the life of Carleton swimmer, Ted Mullin ’06, and afflicts the lives of many young people. In 2013, the “Hour of Power” relay event involved 167 swim teams across the country. Last year, just over 8,100 participating student-athletes combined to raise over $76,000 in funds to support research aimed at finding cures and treatments to fight sarcoma. Since 2006, the eight “Hour of Power” relay events have raised nearly $500,000!

Men's Soccer:
Team Impact
We have a boy named Matthew Govostes, a wonderful kid who had to undergo heart surgery a few years back. We've had a team BBQ with his family, him and his team attended games and walked out with us, we've attended one of his games, and we are planning a signing day in the near future the way men's lax did last spring. We'll have a few more things once we're out of season, but those are things we have done/ are planning on doing in season.

Level the Field
About 5 of us were part of level the field last spring, where we went to the somerville middle school every friday morning and did activities with the kids. You guys know about that so I probably don't need to explain.

Women’s Soccer:
Soccer Without Borders
Soccer Without Borders programs help young people come into a greater understanding of their bodies, minds, and voices, creating avenues toward individual growth, inclusion in new opportunities, and the achievement of personal goals.

Big Brothers
Many members of the team are Big Brothers through the big brothers chapter in Boston. They are each paired with a little brother from around the area and go over to his school, usually the Peabody school, once a week to spend recess with them. We've been working with big brothers for over three years now.

The Cannonball Foundation
A new organization we are partnering with is the Cannonball Foundation, whose goal is to provide opportunities to play baseball at the collegiate level to kids in under-served populations. It also provides mentorship and guidance to these young athletes. We will be doing a number of events with the group throughout the year but as of yet I don't know the specifics.

The Perseverance Foundation
The perseverance foundation is an organization we have worked with for over 5 years. The founder of the perseverance foundation was the mother of a young boy, Adrian Misic, who was a member of our baseball team who passed away from cancer. The foundation was started to give hope and support to others who are dealing with adversity in their lives. A number of players on our team are very involved with this foundation and work with Parto, the mother , regularly.

Men’s Lacrosse:
Community service is a core value of the Tufts men’s lacrosse team and a tradition we proudly uphold.  We have a long history of giving back to our local communities and supporting both local and national charities.  In recent years we have volunteered days of service in the Boston area at Cradles to Crayons, Boston Children’s Hospital and Habitat for Humanity, for which team members have also spent several weeks repairing homes in New Jersey damaged by hurricane Sandy.

Team Impact
We “drafted” seven-year-old cancer survivor Jacob Beranger in 2013 and made him a member of our team – both on and off the field.  By serving our community, we are sharing our commitment to learning, to leadership and to giving back to the people who are most in need of our support.

Sportsmanship and Policy

The Sportsmanship and Policy group will take lead in discussions about student-athlete issues on campus and work to propose or edit policies as needed. This committee will be the community relations group and will be charge of communication with coaches and faculty.

The Sportsmanship and Policy group serves as the liaison between student athletes and the athletics and school administration. The groups receives input from the student athlete body and works with the administration to resolve any issues that may develop. Some notable achievements of the Sportsmanship and Policy group have been the creation of a student athlete code of conduct and the creation of an open letter arguing against a cut in competitions across division three sports. The code of conduct outlines the aspirations and responsibilities of student athletes at Tufts. The letter expresses our rationale for opposing a proposed cut in competitions and was read during the NESCAC SAAC meeting and assisted in the rejection of the game reduction proposal at the NCAA meeting this past January. This semester the Sportsmanship and Policy group is looking forward to taking on new projects. Our goal is to increase the visibility of Tufts student athletes to prospective Tufts students by putting on an event during Jumbo Days this spring. Looking forward we would also like to incorporate an event geared towards the unique needs of student athletes at the beginning of next year during new student orientation week


Social Media and Promotions

This committee creates and edits any video or images for the group. This committee also works to promote and encourage people to attend tufts athletic events through social media platforms and the ticker inside the gym facility. These platforms include:

- Facebook
- Instagram
- Twitter