Emily Sanders is a junior setter for the USC Upstate Spartan volleyball team. In 2011 she played in 103 of the team's 105 total sets, leading the Spartans in assists with 836 and finishing second on the team in digs with 335. Those numbers also ranked her eighth in assists and 11th in digs in the A-Sun. Sanders is also completing her service as the SAAC President for 2010-11.
A-Sun: Why are you involved with SAAC?
ES: I work with SAAC because I find it very important for student-athletes to have a voice in the athletics department. I also enjoy being involved in the university; this is just one of many clubs/organizations I am involved with on campus. As the president of SAAC, I find student-athlete welfare very important and I am dedicated to making sure that the student-athletes at Upstate have a positive college experience.
A-Sun: What is SAAC’s role on campus?
ES: SAAC's role on campus is to have a collective voice of student-athletes to the administration and to also promote service of student-athletes in the community. SAAC provides structure for student-athlete peer support and represents a high standard of character expected of all student-athletes. Another role of the SAAC is to promote the understanding of the NCAA and Atlantic Sun legislation.
A-Sun: What is the most rewarding community service project you have participated in with SAAC?
ES: Although we have had many rewarding community service projects, one of our proudest moments was last year (2011) when USC Upstate won the Atlantic Sun service project competition when we raised over $4,500 and donated the money to Gibb's Cancer Center at a local hospital. It felt good that we were able to raise that much money and be able to donate it within the community.
A-Sun: Why did you choose to attend USC Upstate and to play for a team in the A-Sun?
ES: I chose USC Upstate because I loved the size of the campus, the beautiful South Carolina weather, and I had an immediate connection with the girls on the volleyball team. I knew that Upstate was rapidly growing and would soon become a Division I program and wanted to be a part of it. I also knew that the Atlantic Sun was a very competitive conference and was excited to become a part of it as well.
A-Sun: What is a typical day for you as a Spartan entail?
ES: A typical day for me as a Spartan would be to wake up and go to my classes, attend a weights/conditioning session, then go to practice, then wake up and do it all over again.
A-Sun: How do you envision SAAC’s future role in the Spartanburg community?
ES: I envision our SAAC to continue making a difference within the community by fundraising and by continuing our community service activities. It is important for us as student-athletes to give back to a community that is so supportive of us.
A-Sun: Talk about being a part of the program’s transition from Division II to D-I.
ES: Our program's transition from Division II to Division I has been very exciting, and I know that a lot of our student-athletes were looking forward to it as well. This transition has given us eligibility for the conference tournaments at the end of each sport's season, and with that comes more motivation and excitement throughout the season. It has been a different feeling knowing that you have an opportunity to win the conference tournament at the end of the season.
A-Sun: What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
ES: In my spare time I enjoy eating sushi, listening to music and hanging out with my friends.