On the night of Monday Oct. 3, SIf one passed by Mills Lawn last Thursday, Oct. 21, they might have been surprised by the litter of colorful mats, the rows of smoothies, and the crowd masterfully demonstrating the one legged downward-facing dog yoga pose. The Rollins Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) recently sponsored a Sunset Yoga event on Mills Lawn in order to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
SAAC has been especially active this year with a special focus on the personal embodiment of health and wellness. SAAC has already participated in various events such as the Wellness Center’s Fresh Check Day, the National Hazing Awareness Tailgate, and the Homecoming Pulse of Orlando 5K this semester. Other upcoming events that the committee will be hosting include an enhancement party scheduled for November, which also hopes to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and next semester’s annual student-athlete formal.
“SAAC seeks to cater to all members of the Rollins and Winter Park community. The low intensity and didactic nature of yoga makes it an inclusive activity [that] most people can perform. We build community as we promote the physical, mental, and emotional wellness that exercise, especially yoga, confers,” said Michael Dulman ‘18, who serves as the secretary for SAAC.
The Rollins Student Athlete Advisory Committee held its first Sunset Yoga event last year on Park Avenue; though, the event was moved to the Rollins campus this semester in order to increase awareness and student participation. Planning for the event began September of this year with student-athlete representatives meeting with a Make-A-Wish representative to discuss promotion and preparation details. Furthermore, SAAC also partnered with various local businesses, such as Full Circle Yoga and Ballball Yoga Gear.
“I personally believe this event will demonstrate our commitment to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and provide the means for student-athletes to give back to their community. Student-athletes can offer a lot to their community with their self-discipline and energy, and organizing and participating in Sunset Yoga will help prove that to both the student-athletes themselves and others,” continued Dulman.
Most of us might seem to associate the Make-A-Wish Foundation and ‘wish stories’ with holiday drives. After all, it is an organization that has made it its mission to grant children with life-threatening illnesses their very own ‘wishes.’ Dreams really can come true as one of these ‘wishes’ is granted every 35 minutes to terminally ill children aged 2 to 18 years old. The foundation’s goal is to provide 300 children with wishes this year, and SAAC should be proud at having been able to bring Make-A-Wish one step closer towards this goal. The Make-A-Wish Foundation happens to be the official philanthropy organization sponsored by the NCAA’s Division 2, so proceeds from SAAC philanthropic events always go towards fundraising for this foundation.
The event was also a great opportunity for Rollins community members to bond. Friends and teammates took to yoga for a challenging, but rewarding, bonding experience. “Sunset Yoga with the lacrosse team was a great way to bond as a team and struggle through some fun yet tough yoga together,” said Zach Collins ‘20. “And it was great for our team to go out and do something together.”
Overall, this year’s event proved especially successful in bringing together the athletic and un-athletic poles of the campus for a common cause. As Dulman concluded, “The Rollins Student-Athlete Advisory Committee would like to thank the Rollins community, students, student-athletes, faculty, and staff, for its widespread support of our philanthropic efforts. We will keep the campus posted on future events and continue to give back to the Rollins and Winter Park community that has made [it] possible for us play the sports we love and proudly represent our school.”