Before every season, Ashland University athletic teams set their goals for the upcoming campaign.
So does AU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The goal for 2015-16 was an ambitious one – raise $5,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
That goal was met and surpassed, as Ashland's S.A.A.C. finished the school year having raised $5,227.46 for Make-A-Wish.
"We are unbelievably excited about hitting our goal this year," said AU S.A.A.C. President Zach Bernhard. "We feel like this year was just the start, and raising at least $5,000 towards Make-A-Wish should be something we take pride in as an organization year in and year out."
Said Ashland S.A.A.C. Vice President Hannah Mattar, "We knew back at the beginning of the year that setting a $5,000 goal for Make-A-Wish was going to be challenging, but we also knew that if we were able to make our goal that we would be helping to change a child's life.
"Meeting our goal after our final ASHPY's award show was such an incredible feeling, because it showed that all of our hard work had paid off."
Monies for Make-A-Wish were raised throughout 2015-16 via "pass the bucket" days at home Eagle football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and baseball games, a cornhole tournament, a campus-wide dress-down day and the inaugural ASHPY awards.
"This group worked so incredibly hard this year," said Rachel O'Connor, Ashland S.A.A.C. Advisor/Director of Sports Marketing and Promotions. "At the second meeting of the year, S.A.A.C. agreed to set its fundraising goal at $5,000, and they just went with it. Not only did S.A.A.C. raise over $5,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, they worked extremely hard to become more involved on campus and in the community."
The 2015-16 Ashland S.A.A.C. roster was 42 student-athletes strong.
"It happened this year as a result of a total group effort, beginning with Rachel, who doesn't get enough recognition for how valuable she is to the athletic department or for how amazing she did taking the lead on S.A.A.C.," Bernhard said. "Everyone in the organization should be proud of what we did, because it is something that has never been done before here and really puts us in the same category as some of the top Make-A-Wish schools in Division II."
Said Mattar, "This really is a testament to the Ashland University students, faculty, staff and community members, because without their generosity and support, this feat would have been impossible. This year's S.A.A.C. roster was filled with such hardworking, determined and compassionate people. Without their willingness to stand out in rain storms selling 50/50 tickets, walk up and down the bleachers at basketball games collecting donations or provide creative ideas and t-shirt designs, S.A.A.C. would not have been nearly as successful."
For more information on Ashland's S.A.A.C., go to http://www.goashlandeagles.com/information/SAAC.