Student athletic association helps ease transition to NCAA
The Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) is working this semester to make a few changes and initiate more involvement across campus as IIT’s athletics work to transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III.
One of the first changes the group is looking to pursue is getting more options for athletes and students that need late night meals. Often when an athlete has practice till late at night, such as the basketball teams that go till 7 or 9 p.m., they don’t have somewhere on campus to chow down. You may question: why don’t they just eat before? Well if practice ends at 7 p.m., which mean it generally starts around 5 p.m. This is so that teams can fit in the plays, drills, conditioning and everything else to simulate a game like situation. This only leaves them 30 minutes from when the most used dining resource, the Commons, opens its doors. Though it is possible to rush and eat and be dressed on the court ready to go in that small window of time, ask any athlete and they will say that it’s never an ideal feeling. If they wait until after practice, Center Court is open Monday through Wednesday for them to grab a bite. IIT Dining did create a new option for boxed Pritzker Club meals, a delicious new addition, but the meals are only kept until a certain hour and this still leaves an issue for student athletes on Thursday and Friday evenings.
As SAAC members have often faced these troubles, it is looking to tackle this issue further through communication with IIT Dining and hoping to increase the late night or convenient options offered to our Scarlet Hawk athletes and student body.
Another change SAAC is looking to make is through the involvement of professors and staff. SAAC is looking to have a “Professor Night” where at various home games, different athletes will invite some of their professors or IIT staff members they would love to see support IIT Athletics. Professors and staff who are interested in coming to watch a basketball game, a swim meet, or any other type of activity going on, should contact us. You are important to us and we would love to show you what we dedicate ourselves to outside the classroom as well as show our appreciation for all that you do.
In addition, SAAC is looking to increase involvement across campus through not only its own marketing and advertising efforts in hopes of getting more students to attend games/meets, but one of SAAC’s leaders Roma Mirutenko has helped start a new IPRO this year “IIT Pride: Improving Student and University Community Engagement.”
This IPRO focuses on community involvement with the athletic department and divides its approaches into three areas. These areas are Greek Life, the IIT Athletics website, and advertisement.
For Greek Life, the IPRO is working with Greek Council and some of the executive boards of IIT Greek chapters to host post-game gatherings and to encourage their own members to further support athletic activities. For the athletic website, IPRO members are looking to create an updated and more user friendly site for navigating commonly searched topics such as Keating’s availability and information about the teams.
For advertising, they are also working on putting up posters of a representative from each team along with stories of how athletics became such a big part of their life.
The newest idea SAAC is currently working with is involvement with the Special Olympics. Special Olympics is the official philanthropy of NCAA Division III, and SAAC is hoping to host a community wide event for this cause in the Spring Semester, such as a basketball game for special needs children, or a Polar Plunge to raise money for the cause.
Being in the middle of the transition between the two affiliations, SAAC is hoping it can bridge some of the gaps still held between IIT and the athletic community and hoping to improve the college experience of current athletes, future athletes, and grow the support for both.