Guest Commentary: My Experience With the Student Athlete Advisory Committee


Natalie Washuta, one of the captains of the Colgate women’s lacrosse team, expresses her appreciation for the opportunity to be a Division I lacrosse player and a member of SAAC. 


It is neither the number of goals, nor the number of assists I average per game (while this would probably make coach very happy). It is not the number of caused turnovers I created on defense or the number of turnovers I might have had on offense.

3.8 is a badge of honor. 

3.8 is the percentage of female athletes who make it to the Division I level to play lacrosse, according to a 2017 study conducted by the NCAA. It is also a reminder that being a student-athlete at a school like Colgate is an incredible opportunity and privilege, one which many people only dream about. 

Often times, when student-athletes talk about their experiences, they reference stories of glory, comeback wins and championship games. Other times, they talk about the 5 a.m. alarms that pulled them from their dreams and warm blankets, conditioning sessions that numbed their legs and double-overtime defeats that resulted in immense anguish. There are millions of moments in between these highs and lows that go unnoticed; many people don’t realize that a two-hour practice can suddenly take up four hours of your time, once you factor in pre-practice treatment on your ailing body,  and film sessions to analyze plays and strategies. Time becomes something we dream about having more of, and being a student-athlete, as well as member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) at Colgate, it is something I never wish away.

Coach always reminds us that we are only as strong as our weakest link. It is a mentality that breeds a culture of commitment and dedication to something bigger than ourselves, as it is imperative to maintain relationships and build chemistry on and off the field with every player on the team. In our locker room and out on the field, we constantly reiterate that we are “26 strong,” and with the time I have spent on SAAC, I have come to realize that the committee itself is “46 strong.”

As SAAC gathers together to discuss team updates, achievements and setbacks, there is a realization that each member that sits on the committee knows more about what it takes to be a leader, what it takes to win games and most importantly what it takes to be a part of an athletic culture that thrives on comradery and a willingness to make the future of Colgate athletics even brighter. Throughout each meeting, we come together and bring forward ways to bond the athletic community and allow the student-athlete experience to thrive. Breaking up into smaller groups, we are able to facilitate honest conversations and strategize new ways to foster more positive relationships between teams, amongst individual student-athletes and with the Colgate community in general. 

There is nothing but our own minds limiting us from achieving greatness and turning winning into a mentality for every team. At the close of each meeting, there is a sense of pride that washes over me, and I am sure others feel it as well, as our ideas seem to come together at just the right moment and it feels as though what we do as members of SAAC will positively affect the attitudes, the culture and the individual teams that we each stand to represent.

Our committee’s roster is “46 strong.” We represent each men’s and women’s team on  Colgate’s campus and try to best exemplify the image of a student-athlete overall in order to allow for our athletic community to rise and contest at the highest level of competition.  

Contact  Natalie Washuta at