For the third year in a row, the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) was pleased to send the President of the NAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to this year's NCAA Convention, which was held on January 14-17 in Washington, D.C. University of Maine at Farmington junior Elizabeth Ferry (Winslow, Maine) represented the NAC student voice at the national convention.
The NCAA Convention provided Ferry with a new perspective and a better understanding of Division III athletics. She had the opportunity to sit in on the in-person meeting held by the NAC athletics directors and she was able to attend many educational sessions along with the entire Division III membership including the Keynote Luncheon, the Issues Forum, and the Business Session. Ferry also had many interactions with the NCAA Division III SAAC and athletics administrators from around the country.
Ferry's personal response to her experience at the 2015 NCAA Convention:
“As I boarded the plane to D.C ., my first flight in over a decade, I was unsure of what to expect at the NCAA Convention. Right in the middle of my basketball season, I had to say goodbye and wish my team luck as I would be missing three practices and a game in order to attend the convention. When I was elected President of the NAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, I made a commitment to my fellow NAC student-athletes. My coach and my entire team supported me in my decision to honor that commitment and take advantage of an amazing opportunity. I didn't know exactly what I was in for; I knew that I would be attending informational sessions, meeting a lot of people, and learning new things about the processes that go on “off the court” for collegiate athletics. The convention turned out to be even more rewarding than I had imagined.
I gained a lot of insight into the business side of DIII through the business sessions and issues forum. As an athlete, I rarely stop and think about all the steps that are involved in putting our conference together. I was able to see firsthand, the amount of collaboration that is required for success. I was blown away by the tireless work ethic displayed by the administrators. All the knowledge I have gained about the NCAA has made me even more appreciative of the opportunities I have as a student-athlete.
Attending leadership sessions, playing ice breaker games, or working together with the Special Olympians (pictured left) are just a few of the activities I enjoyed with my fellow DIII athletes. We swapped stories, shared ideas, and spent many of our free moments getting to know each other. It's uncanny how such great friendships can form in a short time when you have so much in common.
Although I met some exceptional people from all over the country, the relationships I am most thankful for are the bonds I developed with the individuals from our own NAC conference. Julie Muller, Shannon O'Brien, President Dave Wolk (Castleton), and every AD, SWA, or SAAC advisor (pictured below right) present welcomed me with such open arms and allowed me to have a voice on behalf of all the student-athletes in our conference. Professionally and personally, they are an outstanding group of administrators and the NAC is extremely lucky to have them.
Looking back on this experience, I am unmeasurably grateful. It was my pleasure to represent my institution and the other nine schools in the NAC. I did my very best to provide the student-athlete’s voice on behalf of all the athletes I have the privilege of representing. The information I learned, relationships I formed, and memories I made are things I will cherish for the rest of my life. I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to attend the convention.”
For more information on the 2015 NCAA Convention, please click HERE.