Hollins University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)

group photo of 15 Hollins student-athletes  


Front row, left to right: Kendra Rich (Vice-Chair), Kate Woodruff, Kayla Surles, and Casey Mahan
Back row, left to right: Katie Grandelli, Kaleigh DePetro, Valerie Sargeant (Secretary), Madi Szurley, Ciera Morris (Chair), Emma Wilson, Val Heflin (SGA Athletic Chair), Emily Miehlke, Hana DeVarona, Carsen Helms, and Kenna Esquibel

The mission of the Hollins University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is to bring the Hollins community closer together through athletics. SAAC supports and upholds the core values of Hollins University: academic excellence, humane values, civility, integrity, concern for others, diversity, social justice, and the equal worth of women and men. SAAC’s goal is to enhance the image of student-athletes on campus and in the community by encouraging involvement of student-athletes in campus and community projects. A member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and the NCAA, Hollins University adheres to those organizations’ rules and regulations.

  • Basketball: Carsen Helms '21 and Kayla Surles '22
  • Cross Country: Maria Hatch '22 and Emma Wilson '22
  • Lacrosse: Kaleigh DePetro '19, Madi Szurley '21 and Delaney Waller '20
  • Riding: Maddy Lohr and Katie Grandelli '19
  • Soccer: Ciera Morris '19 and Kendra Rich '20
  • Swimming: Hanna DeVarona '21 and Emily Miehlke '21
  • Tennis: Valerie Sargeant '21 and Kate Woodruff '20
  • Volleyball: Kenna Esquibel '22 and Casey Mahan '20

2018-19 Athletics Chair:

  • Val Heflin (Lacrosse)


2018-19 Officers:

  • Chair - Ciera Morris '19 (Soccer)
  • Vice-Chair - Kendra Rich '20 (Soccer)
  • Secretary - Valerie Sargeant '21 (Tennis)     



Patrick Richardson - Head Swim Coach 

NCAA Division 3 SAAC logo

Click here > for the NCAA DIII SAAC's "You Can Play" video.

Fall 2018 Community Projects:

During the fall semester, the ODAC sponsored a friendly competition between the SAAC groups at it's member institutions. The gaol was to collect non-perishable food items to be donated to a local charity. The Hollins SAAC collected 509 food items that they donated to a local Roanoke are food bank.

picture of some of the 500 food items that Hollins SAAC collected for a local charity

Fall 2017 Community Projects:

On Halloween of 2017, the Hollins SAAC group went to North Roanoke Baptist Church to participate in their "Trunk or Treat". The group decorated one of the Hollins vans and gave out candy to 100's of local children during the two hour event.

Halloween 2017, Hollins SAAC dressed up to participate at a local Trunk or Treat

In September of 2017, the Hollins SAAC worked with the Park Partners program through Roanoke County Parks. In addition the group cleared parts of the trail near campus in the Carvin's Cove area as well as staining an entire bridge on part of the trail. On October 1st, a group of student-athletes helped on a project at Sadler Park. The group spread three massive "mountains" of mulch over the playground to mark the park safer for the children that use the facility. 

Student Athletes representing several Hollins teams performed community service, spreading mulch at a local park, over the weekend

Fall 2016 Community Projects:

The Hollins SAAC sponsored a "haunted van" at the 2016 Trunk or Treat on Halloween night. During the event, held at North Roanoke Baptist Church on Peters Creek Road, several Hollins student-athletes dressed up and handed out candy to over 750 children from the Roanoke Valley.

Hollins SAAC at the Trunk or Treat held at the North Roanoke Baptist Church

Winter 2015 Community Projects:

On Friday, December 11th, the Hollins SAAC concluded it's fund raising efforts for Feeding America Southwest Virginia by working at the food bank.  Hollins collected over $300 for the organization and presented the funds when they went to work in the "Quality Assurance" area for the afternoon.  In addition to the donation, the Hollins group processed over 6,000 pounds of food while working at the food bank.  After sorting through the thousands of pounds of food, the group sorted and packed enough food to create 5,000 meals for people in the Roanoke area.  Also, while working at Feeding America Southwest Virginia, the SAAC group met one of their own when they had a chance to meet and work with Hollins alum Johana Keller, the Development Services & Records manager at Feeding America.


Hollins SAAC members working at the local food bank Hollins SAAC members working at the local food bank

Hollins SAAC members working at the local food bank


Fall 2015 Community Projects:

There was a SAAC sponsored pep rally on Wendesday, October 14th.  During the event, each SAAC member recognized their teammates and said a few words in front of the group.  The rally was for the fall sport seasons and to kick off the first day of basketball practice.

SAAC participated in the "Trunk or Treat" at North Roanoke Baptist Church on Saturday, October 31st.  During their time at the event, the Hollins SAAC group in full halloween dress, took one of the Hollins Athletic Vans and decorated it (inside and out) so that the children could walk through and receive teats as they exited the van.  During a two hour period, the SAAC group welcomed over 100 children.

In December of 2015, Hollins SAAC is raising money for "Feeding America Southwest Virginia", a highly rated national organization with a local location.  The group is looking to raise $500-$600 for the food bank, located in Salem, VA.  Saturday, December 5th, SAAC will be volunteering with Feed America at it's Salem Distribution Center.   

2015 Hollins SAAC community service outing at a local Trunk or Treat


Fall 2014 Community Projects:
SAAC will be sponsoring a pep rally on Thursday night, September 11th.  The theme of the pep rally will be "lawn games".  The event will be held outside at the fire pit on Forest of Arden and it is designed to help kick off the fall sport seasons as well as get the campus ready for the annual soccer matchup with their arch rival, Sweet Briar College.

October of 2014the Hollins University SAAC volunteered in October at the Third Annual Blacksburg Color Me Rad 5k Race to benefit Special Olympics Virginia. 

This was a Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) driven event and nine student-athletes from Hollins dedicated a few hours of their day to assist with the race. Color Me Rad and Special Olympics Virginia had an agreement that for every ODAC volunteer, Color Me Rad would donate $100.00 to Special Olympics Virginia, so the organization will receive $900.00 this year. Special Olympics Virginia will use the money to provide programming and state level events for their athletes.

Hollins student-athletes at the Color Me Rad fund raising event for Va. Special Olympics Virginia Special Olympics logo Hollins student-athletes at the Color Me Rad fund raising event for Va. Special Olympics


December of 2014 the Hollins SAAC sponsored a food drive for the Trust House in Roanoke, VA.  Hollins student-athletes raised over 150 canned and non-perishable food items for the Trust House, a designated non-profit providing programming for homeless individuals, families and veterans experiencing crisis.

 Hollins SAAC helped to raise over 150 canned food items for the Trust House, picture of basketball court with the cans in a "Hollins logo"



Fall 2013 Community Projects:
On a cool fall evening, SAAC sponsored a campus wide pep rally, "Burn the Briar."  The pep rally was held on the eve of the Hollins/Sweet Briar soccer match, a match that Hollins went on the road and came home with a 3-1 ODAC victory.  Also, the group volunteered as course ushers at the Color Me Rad 5K, an event that was held in conjunction with the ODAC and Virginia Special Olympics.

Fall 2010 Community Projects:
This past fall, the SAAC group continued their efforts to raise money for Turning Point, the Roanoke Valley's shelter for battered women.  The group took all the money they raised and converted it into gift cards for the shelter to give out during the holiday season.

Fall 2009 Community Projects:

During an equipment drive for Lucy Addison Middle School in Roanoke, SAAC members collected items for the school’s varsity athletic teams and physical education department. The equipment was donated to Lucy Addison’s administrators during halftime of the December 9 basketball game at Hollins against Randolph College.

SAAC collected toiletries for Turning Point, a battered women’s shelter in Roanoke, and delivered them during the January term.