by Kelsey Bumgarner
Athletics Development & Sports Information Assistant
PORTLAND, Ore. - Each year, the Lewis & Clark Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) coordinates and implements a variety of events, but in the last three years the L&C SAAC has placed a special focus on working with Special Olympics Oregon in light of the NCAA Division III SAAC partnership with Special Olympics.
“I am incredibly proud of the partnership with Special Olympics Oregon,” said Associate Director of Athletics and SAAC advisor Sharon Sexton. “From the beginning, it was something our student-athletes were really excited about, and that excitement and commitment has only grown over the years.”
At the 2011 NCAA National Convention, the National DIII SAAC officially announced its partnership with Special Olympics. Since then, the L&C SAAC has dedicated many of its regular events to supporting the Multnomah County chapter.
Over the course of the 2012-13 academic year, the L&C SAAC raised nearly $4800 over a 48-hour coin drive as part of a Northwest Conference competition to donate to Special Olympics. They also hosted barbeques, sponsored 30 athletes to take part in a Polar Plunge, served as the host for the Multnomah County swim practices in the fall of 2012, and hosted the 2013 Law Enforcement Torch Run Dodgeball Tournament, a Special Olympics fundraiser. Different teams and individual athletes also volunteered with sport tryouts and at the Polar Plunge.
“Working with Special Olympics through SAAC has been extremely rewarding over the past two years,” said SAAC co-chair Megan Andre. “It has been great to be a part of strengthening the relationship between Lewis & Clark College and Special Olympics, and I can’t wait to see how SAAC continues to build upon that.”
The purpose of the Division III initiative with Special Olympics not only provides a way for student-athletes to engage and work within local community, but also provides a mutual learning experience and serves as a way to help raise awareness and recognition for the programs and services Special Olympics provides.
“For me, being able to be a spectator with Special Olympians at sporting events has been my favorite part,” said SAAC secretary Rachel Levitsky. “I remember one volleyball game in the fall when some of the Special Olypmics athletes came out, and they were the ones teaching me about volleyball. Seeing the joy they get from watching and participating has been such a great opportunity, and one I hope to continue with in the future.”
Tomorrow’s Feature: Grant Frey, '83 Includes L&C in Planned Giving
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