In the Locker Room with Aidan Loh & Abbie Patchen, Co-Chairs of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee

Aidan Loh and Abbie Patchen are this yearʼs co-chairs for the Student- Athlete Advisory Committee. Patchen, a third-year Law and Society major and player on the womenʼs lacrosse team, has been co-chair since the spring of 2023, and Loh, a third-year Psychology major and player on the menʼs lacrosse team, has been co-chair since the fall of 2022. Together, they have helped plan events for the Oberlin Athletics community, and look forward to celebrating Division III Week.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What led you to becoming co-chair of SAAC? What do you bring to the role that helps the committee as a whole?

Aidan Loh: I ran for co-chair last spring because I saw all of the great work that SAAC does among the Oberlin community, as well as to become the voice for the Athletics student body and help facilitate communication between the department and athletes. As the co-chair, I am responsible for organizing and planning SAAC-sponsored events and community service efforts, as well as setting meeting agendas and leading officer meetings and full SAAC meetings. However, I am also extremely grateful for the work that my co-chair Abbie Patchen does, as well as the rest of the officers, as it is truly a combined team effort to make all of these events happen.

Abbie Patchen: I got involved my second year, just going to more meetings because I wanted to be more involved in the Athletics community. I ran for Public Relations and Communications chair at the end of my sophomore spring and I took on that role along with Maya Blevins, whoʼs a third year on the womenʼs soccer and lacrosse teams. We did that throughout the fall. Zoe Kuzbari, OC ’22, who was the womenʼs cochair, graduated early in December, and we kind of all agreed as an officers group that I would be the one to run for her position. I did that at the end of the fall and started being co-chair this spring, which has been super fun. It is a lot of work, but itʼs been really great to get to know more people in the athletics community and work with people to make all of the events happen.

What has your experience in SAAC taught you and prepared you for in your Oberlin career and beyond?

AL: SAAC has helped me gain valuable organizational and communicative skills as well as event planning. There is a lot of collaboration involved in making these events happen, from listening to our SAAC reps to see what events theyʼd like to see throughout the year to communicating with the Athletics administration for help in making all of these events and efforts come to fruition. Iʼve learned so much from being a part of SAAC since my first year, and I am excited to see how these skills translate to my life after Oberlin.

AP: Itʼs taught me a lot about collaboration and how much work really goes into all of these things. It really means a lot when people show up to our events because we all really work hard — not just the co-chairs, but every single officer and the reps getting the word out to their teams has been really great. I think itʼs taught me a lot about the value of our student-athlete community and how important it is to create those kinds of relationships.

What are your major goals and focal points this year? Are there any upcoming events youʼre especially excited for?

AL: One of our biggest goals this year was to continue all of the amazing community service efforts and contribute to the many great organizations we are involved with. Another goal we set was to provide more opportunities for engagement between student-athletes on campus, as we are so busy with our own respective sports that we do not have many opportunities to actually get to know each other outside of athletics. I am really excited about next week, as we are celebrating D3 Week, which is an opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of Athletics and of student-athletes on campus and in the surrounding community. We have a lot of amazing events planned to celebrate Oberlin athletesʼ hard work, including a field day on the last day.

AP: Saturday, April 15, the menʼs and womenʼs lacrosse teams have a One Love game, which is our hype game, and weʼll also be fundraising. Third-years Caroline Lee, Audrey Koren, and I, as well as other SAAC officers and reps, have worked on doing workshops last year and this year. Weʼre really passionate about One Love and super excited for that event. And then, the Sunday to end DIII Week, we have a field day with a dodgeball tournament, so thatʼ super exciting. Then April 30 we have Play Like a Girl, which is one of my favorite events. We bring girls aged five through twelve from the local community, and all of the womenʼs sports teams will teach them their sport. Itʼs a super fun day to get girls involved in sports.

Are you going to remain in a leadership role next year? If so, what are you hoping SAAC will achieve next year?

AL: I plan on remaining the co-chair of SAAC for the next year and am committed to continuing our community service efforts as well as looking to boost our efforts to give back to the Oberlin community for all of their support and kindness to all students on campus when school is in session.

AP: Everyone has to run again, so my plan is to run again for cochair. I think together, we want to keep up how much we give back to the community. We won an award this past year for contributing a lot to a variety of organizations. I think thatʼs a really important goal for all of us, as well as streamlining our volunteer efforts to get more athletes involved outside of the Oberlin campus.