The College of Staten Island Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is often tied to projects that enlighten and strengthen their neighboring communities.  This past weekend, the unit, comprised of members from each of CSI’s 13 intercollegiate teams, did something to improve on their own backyard, taking part in a massive clean-up project aimed at simple trash removal and beautifying the sprawling 204-acre campus.
Littered with debris accentuated by the College’s windy conditions following the start of the fall semester, the SAAC wanted to do something close to home, and coupled with the College’s need for more manpower for such projects, they figured what better way to start than by setting the example for over 13,000 CSI students?

“Being a part of the SAAC is not only being a part of a team, but also part of a family, and this is our home,” said Danielle McLaughlin, senior of the CSI women’s soccer team and President of SAAC.  “The Campus Cleanup project  we did today was one of the biggest accomplishments that we have achieved.  I’m so thankful for the entire group for taking the time on a weekend to join us for this important initiative.”
Indeed, the SAAC’s volunteer effort was a crucial one.  The group covered almost the entire north side of campus, focusing on the parking lots and walkways surrounding the athletic fields, where debris often collects the most.  Despite Buildings & Grounds’ best efforts to curb the problem, it has become hard to stay ahead.  That’s where the SAAC came in most handy, according to CSI Assistant Vice President for Campus Planning & Facilities James Pepe.

“In my opinion, it is very disappointing to work in a dirty area,” said Pepe.  “I appreciate the CSI SAAC’s efforts this past weekend with cleaning the campus.  The sense of pride they exhibited through their effort is one I hope others will choose to follow. On behalf of the Facilities Management Department here at CSI, I want to thank those who took time from their day to come and pick up others’ litter”
First mentioned by new CSI Athletic Director Vernon Mummert, the SAAC gave the initiative legs, following up by collecting trash bags and work gloves prior to the event.  The committee itself was joined by several coaches, Mummert, and Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Services Katie Arcuri, who mentors the SAAC year-round.
“I couldn’t be more thankful and impressed,” said Arcuri post-event.  “The student-athletes understand the importance of what the appearance and presentation of the campus means to visitors, other students, and themselves.  They are the busiest students on this campus and to take the time out toward this type of initiative is awe-inspiring.”

McLaughlin hopes to make this a year-round initiative, targeting the turn of the spring semester as a likely time to reorganize the effort.  In the meantime, individual teams have already promised to follow up on the Campus Cleanup event by working in smaller groups to keep the campus clean.
As a committee, the student leaders will continue to organize and make waves.  This Thanksgiving, the SAAC intends to volunteer at Project Hospitality and various hospital groups.  The committee will also visit Staten Island’s Eger Nursing Home in December for a holiday arts and crafts event.  More events will be on tap this spring, including Kids Sports Day and CSI’s 5th Annual Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night.