Zags Wrap Up Busy 2017
Jan. 4, 2018

With the start of a new year, comes an opportunity to reflect on the events and community outreach the Zags embraced in the fall of 2017.

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee, also known as S.A.A.C., began the fall with a productive officer retreat, built around communication and the goals of the group. The first meeting of the semester with all S.A.A.C. representatives (over 50 in total from the athletic teams), started by empowering teams to remember why they volunteer, why they help others, why they take time to get involved, and why they join teammates in an already busy schedule, to make the Zag experience better for future Zags. The motive for the semester became to, "make an impact" and "share our why."

S.A.A.C. representatives took it upon themselves in the biweekly meetings to give thorough team updates and a layer of insight into the current events of each team. Others spoke to their experiences across various events, giving younger S.A.A.C. members an idea of why they got involved. Representatives were also educated on various occasions, hearing from Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Health and Wellness, Bill Drake and later, Faculty Athletics Representative and Marketing Professor in Gonzaga's School of Business, Dr. Peggy Sue Loroz. S.A.A.C. learned of development, annual giving, and marketing from Director of Annual Giving, Megan King and Director of Marketing, Lindsey Lessing.

S.A.A.C. also helped to put together community building events for their fellow Zags. They began the year with a "Welcome Back Dodgeball Tournament" where a mixed team of baseball and volleyball were champions. To bookend the semester, S.A.A.C. hosted their seventh annual Winter Formal where Zags could play games, dance, and join in on the photo booth for a night of fun before final exams began. In conjunction with the tickets purchased for the winter formal, the Zags adopted six families from Catholic Charities through the annual Christmas Blessings program and donated gifts for the holiday season. Lastly, S.A.A.C. took pride in being liaisons to their teams, helping to educate younger Zags on the culture of Gonzaga and the "why."

The Zags closed out the fall semester with a record high of 2,780 hours served in and around the Spokane Community. Highlights included eight of the athletic teams volunteering at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk, helping to build homes for Habitat for Humanity on four different occasions, over 180 Zags raking leaves, and over 200 student-athletes participating in the annual Trunk-or-Treat to benefit Catholic Charities. With a record amount of Halloween candy collected at 720 pounds, student-athletes helped to create a safe place for local children to Trick-or-Treat, decorating the trunks of their cars and handing out candy. A costume contest was also incorporated among the athletic teams with first, second, and third place going to men's cross country, women's tennis and women's basketball, respectively.

Other high points in the fall included the continuation of the New Athlete Orientation class, which aided the freshmen Zags in acclimating to life on campus, their new academic ventures, and their roles as Division I student-athletes. Meanwhile, their senior peers were busy editing resumes, attending career fairs, and workshops, as a means of preparing themselves for life after Gonzaga. In November, they attended the Senior Networking Social, an event put on by the department that saw 30 guests of which included alumni, community leaders, successful professionals, and university constituents. With three keynote speakers (David Lynch from Western States Asphalt, Julie Holland from Northern Quest Resort & Casino, and Andrew Sorenson, Men's Basketball alum and employee of Nike), having a networking period and an opportunity to ask questions, the Zags left having practiced networking in a professional environment and gained valuable insight into the first steps in a professional setting.

It was an eventful fall semester, with much to look back on. The fall sports having completed their competitive season, meant the Zags welcomed the start of basketball season, now in conference play. Spring sports and the spring semester are just around the corner, ready to begin in the coming weeks, and plans are already in place for S.A.A.C. and the rest of the student-athletes to be welcomed back to their new home in the Volkar Center for Athletic Achievement. They will hit the ground running when they return, at which time they will take on new course loads, new competition, and new community outreach opportunities.



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