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Maryville receives Diversity Spotlight award

The school’s Athletes for Change initiative fostered the notion of respecting all people on campus

Maryville College (Tennessee) wanted to create a tool to begin healthy conversations around diversity and inclusion, and it is this month’s Diversity Spotlight award recipient.

Maryville has created an atmosphere of respect on the campus, in its sports and community, and most importantly among student-athletes.

The student development staff at Maryville enlisted the help of a few student-athletes to be the voice and the leaders in its “Athletes for Change” initiative. With the help of many individuals, the end result was a video covering Maryville’s position on diversity. The video fostered the idea of respecting all people “regardless of color, race, gender, and sexual orientation.”

Maryville student-athletes are taking a stance of respect, listen and embrace. Each first-year orientation class and every athletics team at the college will now utilize the video to begin an intense conversation for change on the Maryville campus and within the community.

Maryville’s goals include fostering inclusion and elevating diversity as a priority to improve recruitment, retention, awareness, skill building, climate enhancement and outreach for students, faculty and staff. Each of those areas is a high priority, and student-athletes are at the helm of these initiatives.

The video is the beginning of a “Step Up” program being implemented in the Maryville athletics department and on campus this fall, and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee will continue to push the “Athletes for Change” message throughout the 2014-15 academic year.

The monthly Diversity Spotlight recognizes and promotes outstanding diversity-related projects, programming and initiatives that are occurring on Division III campuses and in conference offices. All award recipients receive $500 towards their next diversity initiative.