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The University of Wisconsin-River Falls earns 2019 Award for Diversity and Inclusion

Among other initiatives, school created diversity council that tackles issues to help break down barriers

UW-River Falls has implemented policies and programming that have made equity and inclusion a top priority for the athletics department. NCAA Photos

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls athletics department was recognized Friday at the NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida, with the 2019 Award for Diversity and Inclusion.

Presented by the NCAA and the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association, the award is a partnership between the organizations and recognizes and celebrates the practices, programs and policies of NCAA colleges, universities and athletics conference offices that embrace diversity and inclusion.

“As an association, we are living in times where our values continue to be challenged on every front,” said Katrice Albert, NCAA executive vice president of inclusion and human resources, when she presented the award alongside Peggy Davis, athletics director at Virginia State and president of MOAA. “We stand as current and future leaders for a society whose very essence is based on our diversity and whose very strength is based on our intentional actions around inclusion.”

UW-River Falls has implemented policies and programming that have made equity and inclusion a top priority for the athletics department. Last year, the department created Falcons United, a diversity council composed of student-athletes and staff that looks at ways to tackle tough topics and issues that help break down barriers, shatter stereotypes and find commonalities among individuals.

Falcons United programs have included diversity presentations and activities that addressed social injustice, special privilege, being an LGBTQ ally, combating microaggressions and understanding prejudices. Programming also has provided student-athletes and staff with opportunities to engage in discussions that deepen their appreciation of diversity and equity issues and with tools that enable them to become more confident and effective leaders.

The NCAA and MOAA also recognized the America East Conference, Oklahoma State and Springfield as honorable mentions for their diversity and inclusion programming and initiatives.

Past winners of the NCAA/MOAA Award for Diversity and Inclusion have been recognized for their professional development programs that help educate staff and student-athletes about inclusive practices; community outreach as it relates to diversity; and efforts that enhance opportunities for people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences.