These 6 DEI-Focused Organizations Support Student-Athletes
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- Student-athletes account for over 500,000 college students nationwide.
- DEI-focused organizations help athletes fight discrimination and equity issues.
- Off-campus groups help college athletes build equitable campus environments.
Over 520,000 students participate in college sports, according to NCAA 2022 data. Diversity among student-athletes continues to be an important aspect of the growth and development of college athletics. Organizations that support the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) of student-athletes are essential elements of the journey of a college athlete.
For Annie Welch, a Division 1 soccer player, the support of on and off-campus institutions is critical. "As an LGBTQ+ identifying female athlete, it is absolutely essential that I feel supported by the institution I play for and those who surround me in my athletic environment."
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College Athletes Need Support
On-campus groups play an important role in supporting college athletes. "At Yale," Welch states, "we have amazing clubs geared toward diverse student-athlete populations such as LGBTQ+ athletes, Black athletes and other athletes of color, female-identifying athletes, and more."
The role of education about diverse issues impacting students' lives is also critical. Student groups and organizations provide information, resources, and opportunities to uplift diverse student experiences.
DEI-focused organizations help students build connections, grow leadership skills, and raise awareness for ongoing issues in their communities. Organizations can also help students push back against discriminatory practices within college athletics.
Of her college athletic experience, Welch identifies, "Diverse student-athletes would not feel as comfortable competing for Yale if these essential support groups didn’t exist and these crucial conversations regarding diversity weren’t happening among the student-athlete body."
Some colleges host groups and clubs that focus on building equitable sports and campus environments. Outside organizations can help support campus efforts and fill in gaps where necessary.
DEI-Focused Organizations Supporting College Athletes
The six organizations highlighted here support the social and cultural diversity of student-athletes nationwide.
Founded in 2011, Athlete Ally works to end homophobia and transphobia in sport. They uplift LGBTQ+ equality and push for equal access in sports regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity. Athlete Ally offers education, advocacy, and policy guidelines that support anti-discrimination efforts among student-athletes.
WSF supports women and girls to have equal opportunities in sports. Established in 1974, just two years after Title IX passed, WSF provides funding to athletes, finances sports-related research, educates communities on sports equity, and advocates for ongoing and improved equality in sports. WSF also connects student-athletes with professionals in various career fields.
ABIS was established in 2020 to advocate for racial equity and social justice in sports. They work to connect people through advocacy work in support of Black people participating in all sports.
Committed to racial equity and social justice, RISE educates and empowers student-athletes and others within sports fields to eliminate discrimination and improve race relations. RISE provides student-athletes, coaches, and administrators with actionable skills and tools to build more inclusive college environments.
This online organization provides comprehensive resources for trans inclusion in sports. On its website, student-athletes, coaches, allies, and supporters can find collegiate policies on transgender student-athlete participation, national legislative actions, and international sport protocols.
BWSF was founded in 1992 to increase the participation of Black women and girls in sports. Through grassroots programming, mentorship, and workshops, BWSF supports the equal representation of Black athletes across all sports.
Annie Welch is a rotational intern at 2aDays for the summer of 2022 who plays Division 1 women’s soccer at Yale University and is pursuing a degree in architecture. A committed teammate and a passionate athlete, Annie started seven games her first year and enjoyed every minute of her first season.
Annie is a hard worker and a passionate learner who strives to be the best in everything she does.