Colorado Springs, Colo.----- San Jose State University women's water polo goalkeeper Sara Northam has "drive" according to men's basketball player and Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) president Isaac Thornton.
A senior from the Sacramento, Calif., suburb of Granite Bay, Northam also organizes drives -- clothing drive, a food drive and more.
Her drive to give people a better life earned her one of 11 Mountain West Community Service Team awards for 2017. The awards are given to student-athletes from Mountain West conference schools that go above and beyond helping to promote and participate in community service activities.
"Each month, we've done a fundraiser. It's been a challenge to see who can get the most (Spartan Cup) points. Last month (February 2017), it was a clothing drive," said Northam about the 68 pairs of shoes and more than 1,000 articles of clothing collected, packaged and donated. "This month, it's a food drive. And, we'll do a toiletry drive.
"Our clothing drive went to people in San Jose. Our food drive is going to the San Jose State food bank that will help our students in need of food.
"For the food drive, I think we can get more items than we did for the clothing drive. It's easier. Everyone can donate food and it's for a real good cause... It's students helping students which is a cool concept we came up with," said the child and adolescent development major prior to the university's Spring Break vacation.
Northam came to San Jose State with experience helping others. While attending Granite Bay High School, she was a volunteer with special needs children.
"It's cool to help people in need. You get a really good feeling that you are making a difference. Even if you can't do a whole lot doing something small like that, you can see a big difference being made in the long run," said the fourth-year Spartan who is in her third year as a SAAC member. She also belongs to the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.
"I saw how much fun it is and that is one of the reasons I wanted to be involved in SAAC. It was bringing it to Athletics, getting them more involved in it and giving back to the community.
"Sara has been passionate SAAC donating both time and good to SJSU students and the surrounding community," said Jen Jurgensen, the athletics department's academic support coordinator and staff liaison to SAAC.
"Sara is our vice-president. She is awesome in the way she serves us here on campus. It doesn't surprise me she won the award from the Mountain West," said Thornton.
"The past four years have paid off outside of sports, not just outside of the pool. I've been able to help make an impact in San Jose and with our Mountain West conference as a whole," Northam said.