National Student-Athlete Day: Jacksonville's Jaci Hodskins & Juan Ramirez

National Student-Athlete Day: Jacksonville's Jaci Hodskins & Juan Ramirez



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 Jacksonville's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee were Jaci Hodskins (Softball) and Juan Sebastian Ramirez (Men's Soccer) as they answered a few questions about their involvement with SAAC.

Jaci Hodskins, Softball - Jacksonville SAAC Chair
Q1: How has being involved with SAAC impacted your life?

- Being involved in SAAC has allowed me to realize that my voice can make a difference. SAAC has given me the ability to have an impact on matters that involve me and my peers on campus. I have learned so much while being involved in SAAC. Conversations I’ve had through SAAC have given me further insight and different perspectives about hot topics in college athletics and what can be done to improve the student-athlete experience. 

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 in SAAC has been the relationships that I have been able to make on and off my campus. I love being able to connect with other athletes in the conference and learn about how things are run at the different universities.

Q3: How have you helped promote SAAC to other student-athletes that aren't involved currently?
- I have tried to promote SAAC to the other student-athletes on campus by highlighting the work of our SAAC reps. I’ve recently posted a bio for every SAAC rep on our social media account to recognize their efforts in SAAC. I have tried to emphasize that SAAC is more than just a club to use as a resume builder but a platform that we can use to make change.

Q4: What project/community service effort are you most proud of during your time at your institution and describe it shortly. 
- This fall, we held the our 3rd Annual Jocktion. Jocktion is an event where each team on campus nominates a player to perform in a mini-talent show. The teams raise money to bid on a “jock” on the night of the event. This year, we charged an entry fee of a canned good. We ended up collecting 500 canned goods, which were donated to Micah’s Backpack, and raising close to $1,500, half of which was donated to Taylor Trudeau Cycle For Life (Pi Kappa Alpha’s campus campaign to raise money for Leukemia research).

Juan Sebastian Ramirez, Men's Soccer
Q1: How has being involved with SAAC impacted your life?
- Being involved in SAAC has made me aware of how much of an impact us athletes can have around our community. We often focus on ‘what does this place have to offer me?' and sometimes fail to see the 'what else can I offer to it.' Joining SAAC has allowed me to tackle both for its an organization that looks to improve the student-athlete experience but also serve the community around us as well!

Q2: What has been your favorite part about being involved with SAAC on your campus or in the ASUN?
- I personally really like opportunity I’ve had to meet so many different people through SAAC. When I first arrived at JU I was very shy and only hung out with my teammates, but since I joined SAAC I’ve been able to interact and build relationships with many different student-athletes from many different sports and even other schools!

Q3: How have you helped promote SAAC to other student-athletes that aren't involved currently?
- I think that by staying as actively involved with SAAC as much as I can really. Whenever we are helping out with the different activities we try to make sure people are informed who are and what our role in the community is. I think that’s key.

Q4: What project/community service effort are you most proud of during your time at your institution and describe it shortly. 
- It’s hard to pick really. We’ve worked with a lot of different non-profit organizations like Project Life, Cure Campaign and Cycle for Life, but I have always really loved when we have reached out to the communities right around us. A couple of years ago we had a huge food drive for homeless people around one of the impoverished areas of Jacksonville, where we literally had to bag up groceries and hand them out to a lot of people. It was a very humbling experience, and I can still remember how thankful they were! It was awesome!