Dec. 6, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- Each year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Student-Athletic Advisory Committee (NCAA SAAC) looks to represent student-athletes across the country by fostering a positive student-athlete image, promoting opportunity and protecting student-athlete welfare, according to the SAAC mission statement.
Thanks to junior Lauren Cochlin, a member of the Wisconsin women’s soccer team, the University of Wisconsin holds a prominent position within the workings of the SAAC at campus, Big Ten
Conference and national levels.
Cochlin is the president of the University of Wisconsin SAAC for the 2010-11 academic year. She also serves the UW as a representative on both the Big Ten Conference SAAC and the national SAAC for the NCAA.
Cochlin is the second Badger in three years to serve as the league representative to the national SAAC. A former member of the Badger men’s swimming and diving team, Nick Fulton served as the representative in 2008 during Cochlin’s first year as a member of SAAC. Fulton took Cochlin under his wing to show her the working ways of the organization and now, two years later, she is demonstrating his teachings as the SAAC representative for the Big Ten Conference on the national leve.
“Being SAAC President means that I lead all of our SAAC meetings,” Cochlin said. “I oversee the various committees because I serve as the UW President and serve as the liaison as the UW rep to the Big Ten SAAC. With this responsibility, I also serve on the UW Athletic Board as student representative.”
As the Big Ten Conference’s national representative, she travels to several board meetings and serves as the mouthpiece for not only the 10 other SAAC presidents for league, but all Big Ten athletes.
The SAAC is broken down into three different groups within each NCAA division (Division I, Division II and Division III) and there is also a separate committee for each conference.
Aside from administrative duties, each school’s SAAC has three committees. There is a representative for each committee who is a member of the Speakers Bureau. The Speakers Bureau is a pool of SAAC representatives that are called upon to speak at local schools and local charity events.
Social events are planned each semester for student-athletes by the Social Committee. The Community Service Committee finds different volunteer opportunities for student-athletes to help enrich their civic lives.
Lastly, the SAAC Awareness Committee involves a combination of public relations and secretarial tasks. Along with being the SAAC webmasters, they are responsible for making sure that all student-athletes are up to date on any administrative tasks and upcoming meetings.
Cochlin did not participate in such a successful program out of the blue, she has been extremely involved in such areas since high school, showing great leadership. Upon her arrival to the UW she already knew about SAAC and wanted to get involved.
“I was the Student Council president of my high school but also served as the Vice President of the Minnesota Association of Student Councils. I was incredibly fortunate enough to work under some inspirational advisors who taught me what it means to be an effective leader and also lucky to work with some amazing people to achieve some really awesome things.”
Cochlin has a true passion for student-athlete outreach and a leadership position on the SAAC. As a highly respected SAAC representative she has very high expectations for the program this year.
“We emphasize and are concerned with the student athlete well-being, social networking, volunteerism and obviously leadership. SAAC is an extremely important organization because it serves as the liaison/ connection between the athletic department faculty and the student athletes. SAAC gives a strong voice to the student athlete and gives us the power to change the things we see necessary.”
With opportunities to be an official representative of Wisconsin athletes, Cochlin has not taken her time with the SAAC for granted. She hopes that the skills and knowledge that she has obtained through the conference committee will prove to be beneficial in the future, where Cochlin will leave the UW with a degree in Communication Arts, hoping to work in the field of athletics.