The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee added a familiar face to it’s DII national ranks by adding Missouri Western’s own soccer sophomore Mackenzie O’Neill.
She is the first Griffon to serve on the 27-member national committee since Marian Carbin in 2006.
“To be selected into the national SAAC is an amazing honor and feeling,” Carbin said, the current volleyball coach here at Missouri Western. “It’s a long process to get there, but once you’re there, you have so much to do, and it’s an amazing experience.”
Carbin also talks about what the SAAC does on campuses.
“It gives the student-athletes the means to have their voice heard on campus, not just in the athletic department, but campus-wide,” Carbin said. “The view legislation and our campus SAAC is a registered student organization. They also do a lot of community service projects.”
At the SAAC here at Missouri Western, there has been a plethora of events that O’Neill remembers fondly.
“The Big Game was one of my favorites, now in contention for the Award of Excellence. I also really liked the Make-A-Wish event that we did,” O’Neill said, “Anything we can do for the community is great. They support us, and so we’ll support them.”
The MWSU SAAC also does a handful of charity events and community events all aimed to give back to the St. Joseph community. Along with their Griffs Supporting Griffs event, it’s all here to enhance the student-athlete experience at Missouri Western.
At the national SAAC, they do a bit more there as Carbin talks about.
“What’s great is as of recently student-athletes have obtained a vote at these meetings, and they can now vote for the topics they feel strongly about,” Carbin said, “Like recently they increased the amount of successful hours you have to complete every semester to continue being eligible the following semester.”
Like Carbin before her, O’Neill was very happy and proud to be selected to the national SAAC.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to give back to the people, to Missouri Western and student-athletes everywhere,” O’Neill said. “I’m extremely humble about this opportunity, and I want to do everything I can to give back to this community and to the people.”
Someone close to her was not surprised at all to hear the news. Her coach, Chad Edwards, knew this would happen.
“You look at a kid like Mack, and you can see exactly why she was picked. Tremendous gal on and off the field, on our SAAC here, spearheading change wherever she can,” Edwards said. “I’m so proud of her, and she’s still got a few years here to change even more stuff for the better. Great kid. A great addition. I know she’ll represent Missouri Western proudly.”
All the people are cheering for O’Neill, and she knows it, and she is happy to have that support.
“I think the coolest thing about this whole experience is this campus and all the athletes congratulating me, people I don’t even know or never talk to,” O’Neill said. “How everyone gets to be involved in this process, that’s probably my favorite thing about it. Also, just being able to give voices to people who may think they don’t have one, and hoping that we can make changes and do a lot for the next person in my spot just like Carbin did for me before me.”