WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- Senior Connor Harris (Football/Track & Field), who hails from Memphis, Tenn., attended the 2018 NCAA Convention in Indianapolis January 17-20, along with sophomore Annabelle Feist (Women's Crew) from Niskayuna, N.Y.
Harris was a part of the DIII Student Immersion Program, which is awarded to students of color, and Feist attended as the National SAAC representative. Feist is the Little East Conference and the New England Small College Athletic Conference representative.
At the 2018 NCAA Convention the Immersion Program participants were afforded the opportunity to attend voting meetings, network with professionals across the athletic industry, and attend breakout sessions relating to current themes that need to be addressed within the field. "I thought the program was tremendous," said Harris. "I was connected with a great mentor, Michelle Morgan, athletic director of St. Thomas (MN). It was a great experience to witness how the NCAA functions as an organization behind the scenes."
"My biggest takeaways from the program will be the relationships gained in between my class cohort of peers and industry professionals," Harris added. I was fortunate enough to meet and get a picture with NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert. "I feel much more confident in regards to transitioning to a career within sports when the time comes."
"I attended the 2018 NCAA Convention as an incoming member of the Division III National Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)," noted Feist. "This provided me the unique opportunity of attending meetings with college and university presidents, athletic directors, and NCAA policy makers. In those meetings, such as a breakfast with the Division III Management Council and President's council, the administrators present were there for the purpose of hearing from the student athletes with the goal of gaining ideas for the improvement of their own campuses."
"Division III National (SAAC) also had the opportunity to meet with NCAA President Mark Emmert to discuss topics both for concern and celebration within Division III," stated Feist. "He also spoke to us about the current goals and direction of the NCAA. It was inspiring to see the true extent of how much these leaders care for every student and work tirelessly to improve the policies in place for student-athletes, and all students."
It was an honor for Feist to be able to speak with these administrators as a student-athlete. "Initially nervous to step into my role as a National SAAC Representative, I am now eager to begin," she stated. "I believe that, working with such amazing people, I will be able to make a real difference in my role."