Lessard, Raymond, Weiss & SAAC Recognized at USM’s Student Leadership Awards Gala

Lessard, Raymond, Weiss & SAAC Recognized at USM’s Student Leadership Awards Gala
GORHAM, Maine  – Three Southern Maine student-athletes and the USM Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) were recently recognized for their outstanding contributions to the University of Southern Maine and surrounding communities at the 2017 USM Student Involvement Recognition Gala.

Seniors Lauren Lessard (Lewiston, Maine/Kents Hill) and Aaron Weiss (East Machias, Maine/St. Paul's School) and junior Mo Raymond (Sanborton, N.H.) were each presented with individual recognition, while the Huskies' SAAC received its second consecutive Contribution to Community Service honor from the University.  Lessard, a four-year member of the women's lacrosse team, was given the Senior Husky Achievement Award, while Weiss, a four-year member of the wrestling team, was presented with the Outstanding Student Leader Award.  Raymond, captain of the women's volleyball team, Nursing major, and president of SAAC, was recognized for her leadership role on campus. 

Earning the Contribution to Community Service Award for the second consecutive academic year, USM SAAC has successfully carried out numerous events on and off campus since its formation nearly two decades ago, and has been recognized nationally by National Association of Division III Athletic Directors (NADIIIAA) on numerous occasions.  A student-led organization comprised of members from each of USM's 22 intercollegiate teams, Huskies' SAAC, serves as a liaison between the student-athlete body and the Department of Athletics.  SAAC meets on a bi-weekly basis to discuss issues relevant to student-athletes and works to improve the USM student-athlete experience, and seeks to build a greater connection between all of the Huskies' teams and the greater Gorham Community. Huskies' SAAC is led by advisor Samantha Allen, the Huskies' women's basketball coach, and its student-athlete officers, including Raymond and Lessard.

Throughout the course of the 2016-2017 academic year, SAAC sponsored several events and initiatives including its popular Husky Community Halloween party that invites more than 500 children each year to campus for a safe and fun Halloween celebration at Hill Gym in Gorham, Maine.  Additionally, SAAC strengthened its long-standing partnership with Maine Special Olympics and developed a Unified Sports Program, and spearheaded a "Spread the Word to End the Word" event on campus.

An award to recognize a student who has demonstrated leadership at USM through their involvement on campus and in the community while showing a commitment to academic success and serving as a role model for their peers through ethical leadership and inclusion practices, Weiss, who recently earned his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, was named the Outstanding Student Leader. Along with his commitment and responsibilities as a four-year member of the Huskies' wrestling team, Weiss also served as a USM Resident Assistant since 2015, and as the Lead Resident Assistant from August 2016 until May of this year.  Weiss' service to the University was recognized for his commitment and hard work in helping make the campus a more engaged, inclusive and inspiring place for its students. 

Presented to a graduating senior, the Senior Husky Achievement Award, is given to a student who has demonstrated pride in USM, served in a variety of leadership roles on campus, and encouraged others to become involved in campus life while making a significant impact in the campus community throughout their collegiate career. Vice President of the USM SAAC, a four-year member of the women's lacrosse team, and a Resident Assistant, Lessard recently graduated with a degree in Exercise Science with a concentration in Health Fitness.  A Dean's List student, Lessard has served as a chemistry tutor and is an officer in the Exercise Science Student Association.  An All-Little East Conference selection, Lessard was one of the women's lacrosse team's captains.  In her role with USM's SAAC, Lessard was the driving force behind the growth of USM's Special Olympics Partnership, and has spent the 2016-2017 academic year working as an intern with Maine Special Olympics.