WINTHROP, Mass. – A year removed from the official formation of a league-wide Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), Great Northeast Athletic Conference Commissioner Joe Walsh is pleased to announce the GNAC SAAC Commissioner's Council for the 2019-20 academic year.
The foursome will feature Colby-Sawyer College baseball senior Ben Lewis (Needham, Mass.), Emmanuel College men's soccer/men's lacrosse junior Morgan Mercier (Lincolnville, Maine), Johnson & Wales University (RI) field hockey junior Natalie Rivas (Andover, N.J.), and Saint Joseph's College of Maine track & field senior Lillian Bisset (Jefferson, Maine).
The leadership team of Lewis, Mercier, Rivas and Bisset will work closely with GNAC national SAAC representative Mikayla Arimura (San Clemente, Calif.), a JWU women's volleyball senior student-athlete, to enhance the GNAC's SAAC efforts and create a communication channel with the conference office and administrators spanning all 13 core member institutions. For more on Arimura's appointment as the GNAC's national rep, please click here.
Identified as a strategic recommendation stemming from the GNAC's NCAA Conference Self-Study Guide (CSSG) back in 2018, last year the GNAC launched a conference SAAC featuring three student-athletes from each of the league's 13 schools. With the support of the GNAC Presidents' Council, it is part of the conference's plan to further emphasize the student-athlete experience and promote student-athlete success through its strategic planning efforts.
Along with Arimura, the four student-athletes will head to Anaheim this January to attend the 2020 NCAA Convention under the guidance of Commissioner Walsh and GNAC Assistant Commissioner Michael Ghika.
The group will also play a role in the upcoming GNAC Fall SAAC Forum at Emmanuel this December, as well as the GNAC Spring SAAC Forum next March in Boston.
Last year's December event saw SAAC members partner with Special Olympics Massachusetts for a unified kickball game at Emmanuel, an experience that was nominated for the NCAA Division III February 2019 Special Olympics Spotlight Poll.
Lewis, a 6-1 left-handed hitting outfielder for the Chargers, appeared in nine games for Colby-Sawyer last spring and is a Sport Management major.
Arimura, Mercier and Bisset were all inattendance on August 7 at the 2019 GNAC Hall of Fame Induction in East Boston. The three were involved in the honorees' introductions, as Arimura introduced JWU's Lamonte Thomas, Mercier introduced Emmanuel's Iman (Davis) Barbosa, and Bisset welcomed Albertus Magnus College's Ray Askew.
*Release courtesy of GNAC Athletic Communications