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NEWS: GNAC SAAC Hosts Special Olympics Kickball Game at Emmanuel College


Written by Annie Jenkins, GNAC Staff

GNAC student-athletes focus on social
with Special Olympics kickball game

BOSTON, Mass.  Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) delegates from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference's member institutions gathered at Emmanuel College this past Sunday, December 2, to engage in an afternoon of thoughtful discussion, community building, and social inclusion. The 26 SAAC members in attendance received the opportunity to partner with Special Olympics Massachusetts representing Boston Public Schools for a unified kickball game at the Jean Yawkey Center's Andy Yosinoff Court. 

The programming included a collaborative lunch in Emmanuel's Marian Hall Dining Room, followed by an agenda focused on increasing communication amongst GNAC student-athletes across campuses. The group also discussed what each school's SAAC does both on and off campus, how to create a more successful SAAC on smaller campuses, as well as some of the challenges each SAAC faces.

The group will continue to discuss laying the possible framework for a future conference-wide community initiative. The GNAC SAAC will formally meet again on Sunday, March 24, 2019, and the GNAC SAAC's Executive Council will attend the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando this January along with the conference staff. 

Following the meeting, members of the GNAC SAAC led an hour-long kickball game featuring Special Olympians from Boston Public Schools alongside Special Olympics Massachusetts Urban Schools Initiatives Manager Talia Gabriel.

"It was great that we are able to have these conversations and SAAC was able to see what unified sports is and how competitive it gets," said Gabriel. "They did a great job adjusting and truly having that meaningful play and involvement." 

With 2018 marking the 50th Anniversary (1968-2018) of the Special Olympics movement, the GNAC is proud to become a part of something greater than ourselves.

"It was so awesome and I hope I can do more to get involved," said Sarah Hoisl, a junior softball student-athlete at Emmanuel.

For more information on how to get involved with welcoming Special Olympics Unified Intramurals opportunities to the college campus environment, please contact Talia Gabriel at

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience. 



PHOTO GALLERY: GNAC SAAC Event - December 2, 2018