In the September/October 2021 issue of Campus Rec Magazine, Jocelyn Hill, the director of Recreational Sports and Fitness (Rec Sports) at American University, shares advice on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in this Q&A on EDI.
How is American University (AU)Rec Sports playing a role in EDI?
JH: We promote diversity and inclusion through our programming and core values that are part of Rec Sports at AU.
Our programming focuses on inclusivity. We want every student to feel like they are welcomed into our spaces and our programs. We try very hard to break down barriers to participation. As such, we are currently developing a plan to include the concept of belonging.
We embrace the core values of the university in all we do in Rec Sports. We believe in diversity, equity accessibility and inclusive excellence. So, the performance goals for our unit are centered around those core values.
How did you get the conversation and application of EDI rolling at AU?
JH: In Fall 2020, NIRSA developed a 21-day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge. As a group we were not able to join but we utilized the articles to facilitate conversation about racial equity, implicit bias and allyship. This activity was eye opening for my staff.
What have you learned in leading your team in EDI?
JH: Being able to see EDI from many lenses. It doesn’t matter to me about someone’s background, who they love or if they are able-bodied. I want to find a way to get them in our facility and involved in our programs.
I’ve also learned about embracing inclusivity and being creative. Inclusive programs really challenge a person to be creative.
Finally, understanding not everyone wants to compete or be the fittest.
How can other directors and assistant/associate directors lead the EDI charge in their department?
JH: Do not be afraid to have uncomfortable conversations for instance. Make sure everyone feels safe when discussing EDI. Challenge yourself to learn and grow in the area of EDI. Develop a theme or “mantra” that will help everyone focus on EDI in their work.
What word of encouragement would you give to your fellow colleagues on this topic?
JH: Always be willing to learn and grow. If you do not know the answers then find someone who does. Think inclusively. Then, find a way to break down barriers.
Did you enjoy this Q&A on EDI? Find more EDI educational resources here.