A sense of community
In 1986, thousands of students across Canada were shining shoes to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis research fund. At SAIT, Mayor Ralph Klein was at the event flipping pancakes while 100 volunteers and 500 shiners raised more than $17,000. In the 12 years prior to this event SAIT students had raised $100,000-plus towards this worthy cause.
Today, the SAIT Trojans are carrying on this tradition of community outreach on campus. The popular athletics program has had a long tradition of helping the community. In 2000, the Trojans Outreach Program was formally created. It has sent student-athletes into the community to support cancer charities, fill hampers and send boxes out for Operation Christmas Child, among many other activities.
“It’s really been a sense of pride for our student-athletes,” says Billie Rae Busby, marketing and communications coordinator for the SAIT Trojans. “As a department we want them to learn that little things really do make a difference.”
Busby believes it is extremely important for students and student-athletes to get involved. “It gives them a chance to connect with the community and understand there is more to the world than just wins, losses, games and test scores.”
Make Some Noise
Last year, Busby and her colleague were brainstorming ideas to get their athletes involved and the brainchild of that session was “Make Some Noise” — a student-run awareness campaign for mental health.
Those efforts and the hype that students generated around mental health were recognized by the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, which honoured the Trojans Outreach program with the Community Service Award. SAIT is the only institution to receive this award more than once, having earned it four times since 2004.
“We have a responsibility to instill a sense of community in our students,” says Busby. “Hopefully we will create a more rewarding experience for them that continues long after they leave SAIT.”