BOCA RATON, Fla. -
Florida Atlantic University men’s soccer player Christian Williams represented the Owls at the annual Conference USA (C-USA) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meetings in Irving, Texas on July 20-22.
Williams, FAU’s SAAC vice president, was among the 15 representatives from each C-USA member school to take part in the meetings. This year’s goal was to discuss and develop strategies for expanding SAAC at each institution and encouraging more participation from student-athletes.
“Basically one rep from each school (attends these meetings) and we talk about how we can expand SAAC not only within our school but the whole conference and ways to get more people to meetings. It was pretty much getting a lot of new ideas out there,” said Williams. “This is my first semester in SAAC, so I am really new to it. I fell in love with it right away. It’s been fun honestly.”
The three-day event began with a student-athlete meet and greet at Dave and Buster’s where the attendees broke into teams and played several games to get to know each other. This was followed by a community service outing the next morning, Friday, July 21. The student-athletes worked with Frisco Family Services to gather canned goods and put together weekend meal bags for those in need.
The fun continued on Friday as the student-athletes took a tour of the Pizza Hut Corporation then got down to business with a full day of interactive sessions. Williams and his fellow SAAC members heard from a leadership panel of top executives who imparted valuable insight into how to become a leader, how to inspire others and the importance of community service. The individuals who spoke included Tim McCoy, Vice President of Marketing and eCommerce for InTouch Credit Union, Ryan Hall, Director of Community Relations for the College Football Playoff, Kris Standridge, Senior Manager, Corporate Talent Acquisition for FedEx Office, Ryanne Janca, Talent Acquisition Manager for Enterprise Holdings and Christina Elizabeth Cowley, One Love Foundation Program Coordinator among others.
“The speakers spoke about how they got into their business and what they are doing now as well as gave us tips on how to be effective leaders,” said Williams. “I felt some of the best advice was ‘it’s all about hard work’ and another said ‘don’t tell people what to do, but show them how to do it’.”
After the panel, the group met to discuss social media as well as the SAAC Cup and potentially instituting a broader competition among C-USA schools to encourage participation.
“We do the Owl Cup and Owl points here (FAU) and we want to do an entire Conference USA tournament, so that was a big topic of conversation.”
The day concluded with a presentation from the One Love Foundation. Earlier this year, FAU SAAC partnered with One Love to bring “Stick It to Love” and other programs to FAU Athletics in honor of February being Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
“That was my second time going through it (One Love seminar), and I think now we can become facilitators. I know everyone there really enjoyed it, and I think they (C-USA) want One Love to come to every school.”
The final day featured more focused discussion on national and C-USA SAAC initiatives as well as the league’s SAAC strategic plan. Participants were able to brainstorm and share different ideas that they have implemented at their institutions including what works and what doesn’t.
“Even though we’re all from different schools and have completely different backgrounds, I think we all came together really well and we all have the same vision for SAAC, not only in our schools but the conference as a whole, which is to expand and make it as big and popular as possible.”
Williams has set his own goals for FAU SAAC and plans to work with FAU SAAC President Greg Joseph and the board to implement some of these ideas.
“Right now, we are one of the biggest schools and we meet more frequently than others. Yet I don’t think our teammates know what SAAC is except for the two team SAAC representatives. I want to expand on that. Another initiative would be to have the first meeting of the year with a coach from each team so they can learn about what we do. I think everyone is going to get much more involved if the coaches know about us and support SAAC and what we do.”
For more information about FAU SAAC, please follow them on Twitter @FAU_SAAC.