Grand Valley Athletics receives NCAA's award for diversity, inclusion

The NCAA has announced that the Grand Valley Athletics Department is the 2023 recipient of the NCAA and Minority Opportunities Athletic Association Award for Diversity and Inclusion

The selection committee, composed of MOAA members, the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee and the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics, cited Grand Valley’s work with its Laker Inclusion Team, the SEA of Change initiative, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Title IX and Black History Month celebrations. 

GVSU student athletes attend SEA of Change workshop
Student athletes listen to SEA of Change's keynote address by Kenton Mack and Audra Koopman on August 26 at the Haas Performing Center for the Arts.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

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 our campus.”

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).


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