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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Plans Senior Fitness Test

With roughly one-third of all Grinnellians playing a varsity sport and even more doing community service of one type or another, fitness and service are clearly highly valued traits at Grinnell. The Grinnell College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) combines both of these values into one unique organization. SAAC is composed of a male and female student-athletes representing each varsity sport. They promote communication between athletic administration and student-athletes, providing feedback and insight into athletic department issues and organize community service efforts.

One of these community service efforts is set to take place this Sunday, Nov. 10, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Bear Recreation and Athletic Center. By hosting a senior fitness test for senior citizens to have a little hustle, SAAC hopes participants can build some muscle. The testing will benefit both the College and senior citizen communities by establishing an active relationship between the two.

“Basically it’s a course of seven tests that people go through in a circuit that gives you a variety of measurements to give you a tangible number of how functional you are,” said Matt Schaeffer ’14, the SAAC representative for baseball.

The senior fitness test measures aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility, and yields an easy to understand figure that, when tracked over time, can provide valuable information regarding the progression of one’s health. SAAC has joined with the Seeland Park St. Francis Manor Retirement Community to involve student-athletes in the well-being of St. Francis’ senior citizens. Schaeffer developed connections with St. Francis Manor during his summer MAP, researching the effects of uneven terrain on balance and functional mobility.

“In the short term [the testing] will establish connections and, in the long term, preventative care. All to build a healthier, safer community,” Schaeffer said.

The fitness test is aimed at detecting physical weaknesses in senior citizens, so impairments can be treated before manifesting into serious functional problems. Any and all Grinnell senior citizens are invited to attend. Grinnell College student-athletes will be participating to provide a friendly and comfortable environment.

“The elderly can feel the comfort of an able body near them while, at the same time, [be] promot[ed] to exercise and live healthily,” Schaeffer said.

SAAC also invites community members to look for some of the other SAAC community service activities, such as the community meals hosted by the Grinnell varsity sports teams. Other activities include the Thanksgiving food drive, a sporting equipment drive and the Columbus Day fun run.

“We’re reaching out [to the community] in whatever way we can,” said Jordan Young ’14, chair of the Grinnell College SAAC and of the Midwest Conference SAAC.

Grinnell College also hosts the Special Olympics Unified Sports Day every year. Unified Sports Day—a day aimed at promoting social inclusion—joins student-athletes and people with intellectual disabilities together for a day of sports training and competitive experiences. The event also includes activities in arts and crafts for the artistically inclined and ends with a basketball game, cheered on by College and community members in the Darby Gymnasium.

SAAC members have recently started serving community youth through the elementary schools in town. Read and Recess, an activity where the student-athletes from Grinnell visit local schools to read a book with young students during lunch and lead sporting activities during recess, now involves varsity teams with the local youth community.

“We’re trying to do our part to represent student athletes and, at the same time, try and make Grinnell a better place: within our campus and within the community,” Schaeffer said.

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