COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) sent men's ice hockey sophomore defenseman William Santangeli (Oakville, Ontario/Saint Mark's School) and women's soccer junior midfielder Emily Durette (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South) to represent the Department of Athletics for the inaugural NCAA Division II SAAC Super Region Convention from Nov. 17-19. They joined student-athletes from six conferences, which included 45 individuals - 30 student-athletes and 15 administrators - from the Northeast-10 Conference.
As part of NCAA Division II's Foundation for the Future initiative, the Division II SAAC hosted the first regional convention at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Santangeli and Durette returned to campus with invaluable leadership skills, knowledge of Division II student-athlete initiatives, and the Make It Yours brand, ways to strengthen the student-athlete voice, how to plan for successful fundraisers, and work with Team IMPACT and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Santangeli and Durette were joined at the convention by women's volleyball junior Sarah Rodgers (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire), who is also a member of the Division II National SAAC, and Associate Director of Athletics Tacy Lincoln.
"I had an awesome time meeting new people, especially from the NE10, and learning more about what other SAACs do," Durette stated. "We heard from people on committees within the NCAA who presented on subjects such as the impact of a student-athlete voice, how to communicate with administrators, social justice, and legislation. Representatives from Team IMPACT and Make-A-Wish also presented on their programs and how to implement them into your school. Some of the ideas we are bringing back to campus include increasing our Purple Knight spirit and getting clubs and student-athletes more united."
"The convention was a great learning experience for us," Santangeli said. "During our breakdown sessions it was great to work with other NE10 schools and hear their thoughts on a variety of topics ranging from mental health to the student-athlete voice. We learned that many of our institutions faced similar challenges so the spectrum of solutions to these issues was great insight for us. We also had the chance to speak about initiatives that have been successful on our campus such as Hope Happens Here, the Knight Challenge, and PK Fridays. This exchanging of ideas between student-athletes was extremely insightful. The conference also helped SAAC members create a network of student-athletes from across Division II which will be great for brainstorming and supporting initiatives in the future."