Equality. Diversity. Inclusion.
These three words have become more and more prevalent in campus recreation over the years. “A common theme among all people who work in campus recreation is we invite everyone to participate in our programs and come through our doors,” said Jocelyn Hill, the director of Recreation Sports and Fitness at American University. “We believe in inclusivity. We create a place to be accepted no matter your background. We look at people as individuals.”
In the current times, it is more critical than ever that equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) take prominence in campus recreation. In fact, rec departments are taking different approaches when it comes to addressing what is happening in the country today.
At West Chester University, Campus Recreation posted on its website a message on behalf of the department concerning EDI. Not only do they name the racism and systemic oppression occurring, but they state their mission and then share how they are working toward change:
“Active work means going beyond making a statement or saying that our program is inclusive. This means that our staff will continually educate themselves and think critically about how we can work to support all students. True student success cannot be achieved when access to equitable opportunities for Black and People of Color are prevented by systemic racism. We take action and support those who have historically been and continue to be oppressed.”
You can read the full post here.
Campus Recreation at the University of Kentucky is offering resources related to Black Lives Matter, racial trauma and ally development via its social media.
Hill said the hard part of this situation is it’s an ongoing issue today’s college students have been exposed to for most of their lives. “My question for them is what they will do to change the narrative,” she said. “As a director, it is my responsibility to make sure my staff and student staff can have the ability to be heard. What makes this even more pertinent is that I am a black woman.”
While Hill said there is disappoint that as a society the issues of police brutality and bias have yet to be solved, she also noted she will continue to do her part in campus recreation to promote and instill equality, diversity and inclusion. And she hopes the students being served via this industry will do their part in bringing about change. “It does not matter to me who you love, what you believe, or if you are able or not able,” said Hill. “I just want you to be a part of our ‘rec family.’ We will find something that will help you destress, socialize and be active.”
BONUS: Check out NIRSA’s list of EDI Resources for Campus Recreation.