Jenny Heppert - Quick Questions

Dec. 8, 2008

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is made up of student-athletes who provide insight into their experiences. There are separate national SAACs for Division I, II and III schools. At UCF, SAAC participates in many different community service opportunities on campus and in the Orlando area. The KnightVision staff was recently able to catch up with senior co-president, and volleyball team member, Jenny Heppert to find out more about SAAC and the role it plays at UCF.

As a Co-President of SAAC, can you describe your role?
"Samantha Sarff (rowing) and I work closely with the other executive board members to plan the meeting, and make sure we have people at all of our events. We work closely with the administration so that we are all on the same page and know what the conference wants us to do as far as legislation and things of that nature. We just really try to keep the organization focused and in a direction where it needs to go."

Who else are some of the executive members of SAAC that you work with?
"Sam Sarff (rowing), Tara Rogers (rowing) and Brennan Dobbins (baseball)."

How long have you been a member of SAAC?
"I became a member of SAAC my freshman year. I was just a regular participating member my first two years. Then as a junior I became vice president, and now this year I am co-president."

What are some of the community service events SAAC has participated in this year?
"Some of the events we have participated in are the SAAC hunger food drive which we just completed. This was our first year participating. We also have been doing work with the Central Florida Children's Home, which is an organization for children whose parents cannot take care of them. We have really gotten to know a lot of them and enjoy working with them. We are trying to be more of a stable influence in their lives. We have also done different events throughout the community and we help facilitate that through the athletics department."

How did you get involved in SAAC?
"I got involved as a freshman. As I became a part of the organization and saw what good it does and the growth that can be achieved in it, I was really inspired. It grew in my heart and in my position in the organization. The people that are around it just make it work. SAAC is doing such great things here, and around the nation."

How well do the other schools in Conference USA work together?
"SAAC is actually a pretty hierarchical organization in the country. It starts at the NCAA SAAC where a representative from every conference is on the NCAA board. There are also reps from every school on the conference board, and then each member of the conference has their own SAAC board. We work closely with the other conference SAAC's. We had a meeting over the summer and it was held at Tulane. It is great because you get to finally meet these people in person that you are always talking to on the phone. They all play different sports and come from different environments and you get to learn about the different schools. We are all on the same page and are able to bounce ideas off of each other."

Do you feel an added responsibility to be more of a role model since you are a member of this organization?
"I think that every athlete has that responsibility. As a member of SAAC, I think it is almost easier because you get out in the community more and see what kind of impact you have. It is less of a feeling of added responsibility, but more of a chance to express it."

Is being a member of SAAC time consuming for you?
"Our administration does an amazing job of making our jobs as easy as possible for the students. They also facilitate the group in a way that it is doable for student-athletes. They know how pressure-filled our lives are, and how little time we have especially during the seasons. We have one president who is in season, and one who is out of season so that they can help balance the load. Different teams, who are in season, do more when they are out of season. (The out of season teams) really do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for us, so that when we get to the meeting it is more about making decisions and committing people to the events."