NEW YORK – Columbia University’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) organized and actively participated in a food drive to assist families in the community for Thanksgiving. Each varsity sports program purchased and assembled baskets in order to spread the joy of Thanksgiving to economically disadvantaged families.

Baskets were filled to the brim with traditional Thanksgiving goodies including apple cider, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes. Part of the Solution, a homeless shelter in the Bronx, N.Y., graciously accepted and distributed the collected items.

"The provisions far exceeded the expectations of project organizers," notes Juliette Kenny, director of compliance for Columbia Athletics.

SAAC, which consists of representatives from each varsity sports program, serves to provide Columbia varsity student-athletes with a substantial role in the overall policy-formation process at the institutional and conference level. The committee is charged with bringing the student-athlete community together, fostering student-athlete welfare, providing feedback to the athletics administration, and engaging in projects designed to help those beyond Columbia’s gates.

For the 2007-2008 academic year, SAAC identified increasing community outreach as one of its primary goals.

"Given the success of the recent SAAC-sponsored Thanksgiving food drive," Kenny says, "it appears Columbia student-athletes are committed to ensuring that those in the surrounding area have something for which to be thankful."