National Student-Athlete Day: FGCU's Amanda Carroll & Mario Leon

National Student-Athlete Day: FGCU's Amanda Carroll & Mario Leon



LakePoint, Ga. –
 In celebration of the 25th annual NCAA National Student-Athlete Day, the ASUN Conference is highlighting student-athletes from all eight of its member institutions that go behind their contributions on their field of competition and in the classroom. 

These student-athletes put in additional time and work to make a difference on their campus through participation with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, helping to amplify the voice of student-athletes locally, in the conference and across the NCAA. Selected by FGCU's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee were Amanda Carroll (Volleyball & Beach Volleyball) and Mario Leon (Baseball) as they answered a few questions about their involvement with SAAC.

Amanda Carroll, Volleyball & Beach Volleyball - ASUN SAAC Chair & NCAA SAAC Representative
Q1: How has being involved with SAAC impacted your life?

- Being a part of SAAC has made me a better leader. It has helped me become more aware of the voice that student-athletes have and how important our experiences are.

Q2: What has been your favorite part about being involved with SAAC on your campus or in the ASUN?
- My favorite part of being involved with SAAC on my campus has been getting to know the student-athletes from other sports. Before SAAC I did not get to spend time with other sports as much as I would like but being able to come together and discuss important things going on within the NCAA and within our community has been an amazing experience. Within the ASUN, my favorite part has definitely been being able to work with so many dedicated people. When we get together in a room it is evident that the student-athletes involved are passionate about their roles and they want to make a difference and that is really special to me.

Q3: How have you helped promote SAAC to other student-athletes that aren't involved currently?
- I talk it up non-stop. I am always talking about my involvement and how much I love it. I pretty much promote it without trying but I always encourage people to join and to get more involved even if they are hesitant at first. 

Q4: What project/community service effort are you most proud of during your time at your institution and describe it shortly. 
- The community service project that I am most proud of is one that I came across on my own. I worked with the Gladiolus Learning and Development Center which is a before and after school program for children 3 months old to 13 years old. They are located in an area that has a majority of families living on very little income. I just got to spend a few weeks getting to know the children and working with them to develop their communication and teamwork skills. Most of the children are there from 6 AM - 6 PM because their parents are working more than one job and they need attention and love. It was an amazing experience and it has inspired me to get more involved with future generations.

Mario Leon, Baseball 
Q1: How has being involved with SAAC impacted your life?
- Being involved in SAAC has impacted my life in many ways. I can truly say that it completely changed my perspective of what it meant to be a student-athlete. Before I became a member of SAAC I played baseball and went to school. Things happened around me, and I just went along with it, but becoming a part of SAAC helped me realize that I could be involved in those decisions that affected us as student-athletes. That I also had a voice and a chance to make a difference.

Q2: What has been your favorite part about being involved with SAAC on your campus or in the ASUN?
- My favorite part about being involved with SAAC both on campus and at the conference level has been the relationships I have built that will last a lifetime. I’ve had the opportunity to build relationships with people who will be there for me for the rest of my life. I’ve also enjoyed the places it’s taken me too. It’s give me the opportunity to travel and visit places I had never been to before.

Q3: How have you helped promote SAAC to other student-athletes that aren't involved currently?
- I constantly talk about how great my experience has been with most of the people I talk too. I also try to encourage other athletes to get involved, and my emphasis is always on how they too could stand up for what they believe should change and make a difference. 

Q4: What project/community service effort are you most proud of during your time at your institution and describe it shortly. 
- For my Civic Engagement course, I was in group with three other student-athletes and we partnered up with a local non-profit named Gladiolous Learning and Devlopment Center. They focus on being an educational, day care, and after school care program and most of the kids if not all, come from low-income homes. We knew that college was a conversation that wasn’t ever had in their homes because of their families income or lack of knowledge of how the process worked. We brought them to camps and gave them a tour of the athletics facilities and also played some games with them on the soccer field. While this was fun for them, we took that opportunity to talk to them about furthering their education. We explained to them that they too had an opportunity to go to college, and even earn a scholarship to get it all paid for. We repeated three key points to them throughout their entire visit that would help them succeed in the classroom and in life. 1.) Get good grades in your classes. 2.) Pay attention in class and listen carefully. 3.) Respect their teachers, peers, and parents.