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Colorado State University honored for athletics and campus diversity and inclusion initiatives

Colorado State University has earned the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion for its efforts to promote diversity and foster a culture and environment of inclusion on campus. 

The award will be presented at the 2015 NCAA Convention in the Washington, D.C. area in January.

“Many NCAA member schools are embracing diversity and inclusion on campus; however, Colorado State has taken several proactive and impactful steps,” said Bernard Franklin, NCAA executive vice president of education and community engagement and the chief inclusion officer.   “We commend CSU and its staff for their actions to positively impact all of their student-athletes and further educate their general student body and staff on the importance of inclusion.”

The award celebrates colleges or athletics conferences that embrace diversity and inclusion initiatives in ways that may include hiring practices, programming activities, professional development and community service.  Initiatives can involve specific departments or offices on campus, or center on a university’s or athletics conference’s efforts as a whole.

“MOAA is proud to recognize Colorado State University as this year’s award recipient,” said Sharon Beverly, MOAA president and assistant vice president and executive director of athletics and recreation at The College of New Jersey.  “We applaud the efforts of the university as it continues to foster an inclusive environment, not just within athletics, but across its campus community, which sets an extraordinary example for other institutions to emulate.”

Colorado State has created several programs that center on educating student-athletes and staff about the benefits of inclusion.  The John Mosely Leadership Program is a collaboration between athletics and the Black/African American Cultural Center, developed to serve underrepresented and underserved student-athletes by engaging them in a structured, multi-level mentoring program.   The program strengthens personal and interpersonal skills, promotes academic success, increases leadership opportunities and creates a sense of belonging and connection to the campus and surrounding community.  

The athletics department also created a program for its female student-athletes called Rambition, which focuses on fostering overall personal, professional and leadership development through community engagement, educational opportunities and networking opportunities.  Athletics has also engaged in programs focused on understanding body image and healthy relationships for female student-athletes.  

“We are honored to have the NCAA and MOAA grant such a prestigious recognition to Colorado State University for our collective efforts to champion diversity and inclusion,” said Albert Bimper Jr., senior associate athletics director and assistant professor.  “Colorado State’s commitment to promoting an inclusive community is central to the hallmark of our land-grant heritage.  Although the growing challenges to achieve inclusive excellence are vast and complex, we are steadfast in our belief in the strength of diversity and fostering an inclusive, affirming environment that fuels our success.”

The athletics department also developed a Council for Diversity and Inclusion to discuss issues and strategies which address diversity and inclusion needs among student-athletes, coaches and athletics staff.  In 2014, the department hosted the inaugural Diversity Summit in the Rockies.   The event gathered faculty and researchers from campus and nationwide to share ideas about research related to diversity in intercollegiate athletics.  Student-athletes, coaches, athletics administrators, professors and the general student body were invited to attend various sessions and joined in conversations focusing on why diversity matters and is needed and how it is important for intercollegiate athletics.  Bimper also interacts with university senior administrators who work with diversity and training initiatives.

This is the third year the NCAA and MOAA have presented the honor.  The organizations solicited nominations from their membership.  Individuals from MOAA, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee choose the award recipients.   Georgia Regents University Augusta was honored in 2014.