USM SAAC, Huskies’ Basketball to Host “Spread the Word to End the Word” Awareness Campaign on Tuesday at Hill Gym

USM SAAC, Huskies’ Basketball to Host “Spread the Word to End the Word” Awareness Campaign on Tuesday at Hill Gym

 

GORHAM, Maine – For the second consecutive year, the University of Southern Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the men's and women's basketball teams will host a "Spread the Word to End the Word" Awareness campaign.  This year the campaign will be hosted during the Huskies' non-conference basketball doubleheader with Bowdoin College on Tuesday, November 28 (5:30 & 7:30 p.m.) at Hill Gymnasium.

The "Spread the Word to End the Word" campaign is a national program with the intent of ending the derogatory use of the word "retarded" in everyday conversation.  Through advocacy and awareness, the goal of the campaign is to educate people on the hurtful effects of the word "retarded" and to encourage people to pledge to stop using it.  Led by USM SAAC officers, USM student-athletes have committed to establishing a campus culture of inclusivity and diversity through thoughtful language practices.

As part of the event, the USM men's and women's basketball teams will be hosting halftime exhibition scrimmages featuring participants in SAAC's Unified Sports Program and Maine Special Olympic Athletes.  During halftime of the men's basketball games, players from both the Southern Maine and Bowdoin College women's basketball teams will participate alongside of Maine Special Olympians.

Although officially adopted as a partner by the NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in the summer of 2011, the University of Southern Maine Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the USM Department of Athletics has had a long-standing relationship with Special Olympics, and its Maine Special Olympians.

USM Athletics under the director of then Athletic Director Dr. Richard A. Costello began working with Maine Special Olympics in the late 1960s when the founder and director of Maine Special Olympics, Micky Boutilier opened up his offices in downtown Gorham, Maine.  Since that time, USM Athletics, its student-athletes and Maine Special Olympics has enjoyed a successful partnership. USM Athletics has hosted, and its student-athletes have volunteered at, the Southern Maine Special Olympics Basketball Tournament and Skills Competition since the 1970s when the event was hosted inside of Hill Gymnasium long before the creation of the Costello Sports Complex Fieldhouse. 

Athletics' partnership with Maine Special Olympics is one that USM's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee had made a priority to strengthen during the 2016-2017 academic year, establishing its Unified Sports Program.  Now in its second year, USM's Unified Sports Program, under the direction of SAAC Advisor, women's basketball head coach and NCAA LifeSkills Instructor Samantha Allen, meets weekly at the Costello Sports Complex on Sunday afternoons.  During this one-hour meeting time, USM student-athletes from all sports engage with Maine Special Olympians to participate in various activities.  Each weekly meeting consists of 30 minutes of a skill session followed by 30 minutes of playing games.  Sports range from basketball, soccer, volleyball, track & field, and more.  During the Fall semester, weekly meetings occur from October through November, and then return for the Spring semester.  At the conclusion of its inaugural year, USM SAAC and the Department of Athletics invited its Maine Special Olympian participants to join Husky baseball on the field for a pre-game recognition and to assist with the throwing out of the first pitch.  After the ceremony, Husky student-athletes attended the game with the Special Olympic participants.

"After a successful first year with our Unified Sports Program, we have seen a tremendous growth in our student-athlete participation and excitement by our Special Olympians," said Allen.  "Tuesday's event and our on-going partnership with Maine Special Olympics has been a great experience for our student-athletes and Maine Special Olympic Athletes alike."

 

WHAT IS SAAC?

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.

The goals of SAAC focus on improving the quality of the athletic experience for all participants, involving student-athletes in educational programming and leadership opportunities, and implementing outreach programs that support and nurture the growth and development of children in the surrounding communities.

Each year, USM SAAC sponsors several community-related activities throughout the school year ranging from volunteerism (such as SAAC's volunteered time at Barbara Bush Children's Hospital and Preble Street Food Pantry), to its Unified Sports Program partnership with Maine Special Olympics, and fun-filled community activities (Skate with the Huskies, and the award-winning Husky Community Halloween Party).

Nationally-recognized for its on-going and one-time community service projects and events, Huskies' SAAC has earned numerous awards since its creation in 1996, beginning with the USM's Outstanding Student Organization Award and the Josten's NADIIAA Community Service Merit Award.  Most recently, Huskies' SAAC received USM's Contribution to Community Service Award consecutively in 2015 and 2016.

Huskies' SAAC is led by officer's Mo Raymond, Volleyball (Sanbornton, N.H./Winnisquam), Kim Howrigan Basketball (Fairfield, Vt./Bellows Free Academy); Nicole Schmitz, Volleyball (St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham); Katie Howe, Basketball (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown), Miriam Wood, Lacrosse (Wakefield, Mass.); Sarah Michaud, Soccer (Candia, N.H./Manchester Central); and Mariah Garcia, Volleyball (Brighton, Colo./Central), and SAAC Advisor and Women's Basketball Head Coach Samantha Allen.  Interested student-athletes are invited to attend and join one of the strongest student-organizations on campus.

 

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2017-2018 USM Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Officers

President:

Mo Raymond, Senior, Volleyball

Vice President:

Kim Howrigan, Junior, Women's Basketball

Secretary:

Nicole Schmitz, Junior, Women's Volleyball

Public Relations:

Katie Howe, Sophomore, Women's Basketball

Civic Engagement

Mariah Garcia, Senior, Volleyball

Event Management Team:

Miriam Wood, Junior, Women's Lacrosse

 

Sarah Michaud, Junior, Women's Soccer

 

 

Awards and Honors

2000-2001

 USM Outstanding Student Organization Award, Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Award of Merit

2002-2003

 Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Award of Merit

2003

 USM Outstanding Student Organization Award

2003-2004

 Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Award of Merit

2004-2005

 Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Award of Merit

2005-2006

 Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Award of Merit

2006-2007

 USM Outstanding Student Organization Award, Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Award of Merit

2008

 USM Outstanding Student Organization Award, USM Outstanding Contribution to Community Service Award

2009

 USM Outstanding Contribution to Community Service Award

2010-2011

 Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Honorable Mention (Array of Projects Category)

2012-2013

 Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Honorable Mention (On-going Project Category)

2013-2014

 Josten's NADIIIAA Community Service Honorable Mention (On-going Project Category)

2015

 USM Outstanding Contribution to Community Service Award

2016

 USM's Outstanding Contribution to Community Service Award

 

 

 

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