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Student committee provides new opportunities for athletes and fans

The Bruins defeated their rivals, the Pensacola Christian College Eagles, in front of an enthusiastic crowd of BJU fans on Sept. 24. Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), established in 2020, has worked to create sports ministries, campus initiatives and projects within the Greenville community to promote Bruins athletics in a way that glorifies God.

The SAAC is a student-led organization that represents all Bruins athletics, with at least one team representative per sports team. Daniel Fuller, Victoria Glaze and Bethany Daulton, the president, vice president and secretary respectively, are the student leadership of the SAAC, along with team representatives. 

The SAAC organized a black-out to show support for the Bruins at the well-attended game.
Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

SAAC meetings, which occur every other week, are designed to allow the student-athlete representatives to bring forward any suggestions for potential initiatives or general grievances their teams may have. The SAAC also places students and student-athletes in leadership positions for any initiatives they wish to implement.

Fuller, a senior Bible major, said that much of what the SAAC does is build more opportunities for students and athletes to get involved. “We want to set the foundation for future SAAC members with the attitude and intense focus for giving athletes the opportunity to use their platform … and form stronger relationships with other student-athletes and student body,” he said. 

The SAAC is supported by coaches Burton Uwarow and Vickie Denny, as well as Aaron Burk, who is also the assistant men’s director for Student Life, and Randy Page, who is Dr. Pettit’s chief of staff. The purpose of these individuals is to help approve, coordinate and create the means for the SAAC to make any potential ministries or initiatives a reality.

Some current projects the SAAC is starting are sports clinics, where the Bruins will coordinate with local churches to lead sports and connect with kids to share the Gospel. One of the first clinics, which was led by the men’s and women’s basketball teams, was held on Sept. 25.

Bethany Daulton, a senior kinesiology major on the basketball team, said, “Getting into the community and reaching kids is our goal, but also presenting the Gospel because we don’t want to just be about sports,” she said.

A campus initiative the SAAC is currently implementing is the creation of student sections at Bruins games. The committee plans for seating sections at sports games to be filled with a number of students and student-athletes who sign up to sit in certain sections. Once sections gain more people that trickle in, the sections will grow and become more exciting. 

The Bruins defeated their rivals, the Pensacola Christian College Eagles, in front of an enthusiastic crowd of BJU fans on Sept. 24.
Photo: Lindsay Shaleen

Aaron Burk said the student sections are important for furthering a love of sporting events and building a community for the Bruins.

Burk said he and the SAAC want to see a cultural shift in the student body. “We want to make it a fun experience for [the students], but we also want our teams to feel supported and want the other team to know when they come in that this is our house,” he said. “We don’t want students to act ugly to the other team, but we are interested in standing up for your team … and cheer for our team in our house.”

Caleb Felber, a senior composite social studies education major on the soccer team, said one of the biggest things the SAAC is trying to accomplish is to have the student body feel a part of what the student-athletes are doing. “We don’t want it to be ‘this is the school’ and ‘this is the team,’” he said. “The whole school is one body.”