Augustana SAAC Hosts Leadership Retreat

26 May 2022 | 06:56 | Hockey

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The Augustana Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) recently hosted a leadership retreat for its members as a way to get together as a group and also to build leadership traits heading into the 2021-22 academic year.

“Being that SAAC had limited contact for the last 18 months due to COVID-19, it was extremely important to bring everyone together for leadership development as we enter the new academic year,” Dr. Kimberly Miller, Augustana’s Associated AD for Compliance/Senior Woman Administrator and SAAC advisor said. “The SAAC Retreat was the best platform to accomplish this feat. We are grateful to have an Athletic Director who was in strong support of this effort.”

A planning committee consisting of Vishe’ Rabb, Piper Asche and Erika Bute scheduled out the two-day event with speakers ranging from Augustana University President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, to Jeff Venekamp, the Director of Student Conduct Center for Campus Life at AU, to the Administrative Team within the Vikings’ athletic department.

“With new leadership coming into play with Dr. Miller taking over as the SAAC advisor, I believe there has been a lot more thought into what we can do as a SAAC representative to better ourselves,” Rabb, a women’s basketball student-athlete, said. “The idea (to have the retreat) came about just wanting to instill good leadership characteristics throughout the entire group.”

The planning committee worked through various ideas on how to make it a learning experience but also make it fun. Outside of the speakers, SAAC also held team-building exercises, scavenger hunts and a bowling outing.

“We wanted it to be informational and went through different ideas to get people involved,” Rabb added. “Dr. Miller did an amazing job at looking at things that are relevant right now and things that would help open us up to parts of our character that we maybe didn’t know about, then put that into action in terms of leading or following.”

Some of the other speakers included Michelle Harvey, the Director of Student Engagement at Augustana, Kas Williams, the Chief Diversity Officer at South Dakota State and LaTaya Hilliard-Gray, an associate athletic director at Winston-Salem State.

One session Rabb touched on was President Herseth Sandlin’s session on “Not Having to Fit a Certain Role to be a Leader.”

“I believe it was really helpful to get the inside about how a leader doesn’t have to fit a certain idea,” the rising senior said. “I think President Herseth Sandlin did an amazing job of outlining the different ways in which she came into her leadership role. Specifically, it’s never been people that work for her. It is people working with her.

“That collaboration was pretty inspiring for this specific age group that is going through different changes, trying to figure out their occupations and things that they want to do with their life in general.”

The retreat brought SAAC together in what is the hopes of an annual retreat, then utilizing what is learned throughout the year.

“Being a SAAC representative, we need to take this advice and the strengths we learned and start putting them into ideas and putting them into the community and we can brand ourselves as a different group of SAAC than we have been before,” Rabb added about turning the page to the 2021-22 academic year.

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