Since 2013, the NCAA and the MOAA recognize a university or
conference which embraces and enacts policies and practices of
diversity and inclusion across intercollegiate athletics.
“The dedication and contributions highlighted in Grand Valley State
University’s nomination powerfully illustrated the intentional,
strategic and consistent efforts that are designed to foster an
inclusive campus environment for student athletes, coaches and
administrators,” said Felicia Martin, senior vice president of
Inclusion, Education and Community Engagement at the NCAA.
The Laker Inclusion Team was created to initiate meaningful and
measurable action that enhances diversity, equity and inclusion within
the athletics department and campus community.
One of the team’s initiatives — SEA (Supporting, Elevating,
Activating) of Change — fosters engagement, communication and
understanding among student athletes. This year’s workshops covered
issues related to social action in college athletics, the LGBT
community and understanding the Black student experience.
Subsequently, input from student athletes helped to develop the Waves
of Change program, which continues conversations initiated through SEA
of Change and focused on topics like social justice, voting and mental health.
“This award is a testament to the difficult work that Laker Athletics
has committed to,” said President Philomena V. Mantella. “This work
shows our current and future student athletes that we are committed to
their success. This work far extends past our athletes and ultimately
helps support our diversity and inclusion work for all students and
Grand Valley will be honored on January 13 in San Antonio, Texas,
during the Saluting Excellence Luncheon at the 2023 NCAA Convention.
Previous recipients of the award include: Northern Illinois
University (2022); Towson University (2021); University of Oregon
(2020); University of Wisconsin, River Falls (2019); University of
Buffalo (2018); Bowling Green State University (2017) and Northern
Illinois University (2016).