HUNTSVILLE, Texas – In the midst of busy athletic seasons, student-athletes from Sam Houston State have consistently instilled a Bearkat tradition of impacting the local community. This custom was once again on display last week when the SHSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) teamed up with Academy Sports + Outdoors to give back to a local elementary school.For the second consecutive year, Academy Sports + Outdoors donated 100 backpacks to aid a school-supply initiative coordinated by the Sam Houston State SAAC. The retailer, and partner of Sam Houston athletics, provided bags which were subsequently filled with necessary school supplies before being delivered to Scott Johnson Elementary in Huntsville, Texas.“One of the fun parts about this is that we are able to go into the schools and actually see how this has benefitted the kids,” said Sam Houston State Senior Associate Athletics Director Chris Thompson. “We have been doing this school supply drive for several years now, and now when we go to the schools, we are seeing the backpacks and supplies being put directly to use. That has been a really rewarding thing for myself and our SAAC kids to see.”Sam Houston’s 17 teams collected items to assist the school including Kleenex, scissors (round edges), glue sticks, hand sanitizer, No. 2 pencils, 16-count crayons, wide-ruled notebook paper and spiral/composition books.SHSU athletics has a history of supporting Scott Johnson Elementary including the department’s Bearkat Mentor Program, which allows the athletes to serve as positive examples and role models for the elementary school children.SAAC is comprised of representatives from all sports in Bearkat Athletics and is a group who initiates community service efforts throughout the year. The organization has contributed to local school-supply drives for the last 12 years, receiving a list of supplies needed to replenish the classroom and help those children who do not have the resources to make it through the year.Each Southland Conference member institution participates in a “Southland Gives Back” event around the holidays. As part of the ‘Southland Gives Back” initiative, the Southland Conference will profile a community service outing from each of our 13 member institutions this holiday season.