Student athletes use holiday season to better their community


Colin Vedros

Student Athletic Advisory Committee, known as SAAC, President Bronte Rhoden oversees the mission of student athletes and contributes to giving back to the community.

Student-athletes at Northwestern State University of Louisiana are usually seen on the court, field and track. Around the holidays, those same student-athletes are in the community bridging the gap between NSU athletics and areas in and outside of Natchitoches.

“Obviously we as administrators and coaching staff want our student-athletes to be civic-minded, but our student-athletes are servant leaders,” said Taylor McFall, assistant athletic director for Student Athlete Development.

McFall said a lot of time student-athletes are the driving forces behind the community service they do.

“The biggest impact is they love the Natchitoches community just because the community rallies behind them so much,” McFall said.

In the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, known as SAAC, President Bronte Rhoden oversees the mission of student-athletes and contributes to giving back to the community.

“A lot of our student-athletes like to be involved in this community just because I think we know that without NSU and Natchitoches as a whole, we would not be able to play and have all the fans,” Rhoden said. “It isn’t just about playing your sport. It’s about connecting with your community and helping them in any way that we can.”

The work these student-athletes do can only be matched by their attitude. Student-athletes and their coaches and administrators all work together in a stride to be a companion for fans, other students and even children.

Haley Hoang, SAAC community chair, noted that being able to go to schools and see children’s smiling faces makes it worth it.

“I think the kids like helping them and like seeing them being hands-on,” said Hoang.

Overall, the community feels their spirit and welcomes it wherever the student-athletes go. For everyone involved, it’s a story to be told throughout Natchitoches.

“It gives them a sense of accomplishment, but it also directly impacts the community,” McFall said. “But also it goes back to our core values of our department, where we’re not just concerned about what they’re doing on the field or on the court or what they’re doing in the classroom. We look at a holistic model.”