Pizza and process: Council strives for higher attendance

by Matt Couture / Beacon Staff • February 22, 2017

Emerson’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council used an old classic—pizza—to attract fans for a January basketball doubleheader. But the pies weren’t the only draw.

Soccer teammates and junior marketing communication majors Laura McGuire and Alex Levin used their classroom skills in an effort to pack the stands for SAAC’s lineup of events during the doubleheader on Jan. 21.

“We got pizza and food up in the Skybox, because everybody loves pizza,” McGuire said.  

The two also worked to highlight an A cappella performance by the Emerson Treble Makers, a free raffle, and a halftime basketball knockout competition on the parquet floor. McGuire and Levin started with steps as simple as making a flyer.

“It’s nice to step away from the classroom and do marketing projects outside of it, and it’s cool especially for us because we’re really passionate about SAAC,” Levin said. “We, as athletes, work really hard, and we want people to come and support us and enjoy our games.”

SAAC is a national program promoted by the NCAA—Emerson’s chapter is one of many. Women’s lacrosse head coach Kat Egizi serves as its adviser, and said she encourages student-athletes like McGuire and Levin to bring the student part of that equation to life within the group.

“What I’m trying to do is use what our student-athletes enjoy to get them excited about promoting these events and being more involved,” Egizi said.

Egizi said the entire council will meet again soon to set up events for each of the spring sports. She said SAAC will also look at the bigger picture, discussing how athletics can be incorporated into Emerson’s freshman orientation in the future.

Egizi said that could be something as simple as holding an orientation event at Rotch Playground and Field, where the soccer, lacrosse, and softball teams play, so new students are familiar with the location and its proximity to campus.

McGuire said working to grow the fanbase is one of the more rewarding aspects of SAAC.

“Sports are a really big part of the college experience on any campus,” McGuire said. “They bring students together no matter what your interest or major, so I think it’s a really great way to try to spread awareness to the Emerson community as a whole.”

Athletes involved with SAAC also worked in various roles when Emerson hosted a Special Olympics Massachusetts basketball game last month in the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym. Egizi said SAAC worked to make the event a success, with baseball pitcher Anthony Pugliese working in marketing and men’s soccer midfielder João Vieira snapping a collection of photographs.

Vieira, a sophomore, said he’s not focused on photography in his major, visual and media arts, but is taking a photography class. He said being able to work the event as part of SAAC was worthwhile.

“It showed everyone and all the athletes participating in this event that sports change lives,” Vieira said.