THE FLATS – Working hand-in-hand with student-athlete leaders, Georgia Tech athletics unveiled a pair of new department-wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives on Friday.
The new department-wide initiatives include the establishment of enhanced programming and the development of a unity emblem that highlight Tech athletics’ commitment to addressing diversity, equity and inclusion issues and promoting unity together.
Both initiatives were driven by a series of weekly conversations with Georgia Tech student-athletes, coaches and staff this summer. Out of those open and meaningful conversations, a group of student-athletes formed a leadership committee designed to enhance the efforts of Georgia Tech athletics’ diversity, equity and inclusion huddle. The student-athlete leadership committee provided input to create new programming in the areas of civic/voter engagement, diversity awareness and community engagement as part of Georgia Tech’s renowned Total Person Program.
The student-athletes’ leadership committee also developed the department-wide unity emblem, which was designed by women’s tennis student-athlete Sophia Sassoli and features the words “Together We Change, One Voice, One Fight” surrounding an image of multi-racial interlocking arms and the GT logo.
“When designing the unity emblem, some of my fellow SAAB (Student-Athlete Advisory Board) members and I were discussing ideas and messages we would want to convey, and I tried to combine them into a simple design that we would be proud to wear,” Sassoli, a sophomore industrial engineering major, said. “I can’t take credit for all of it; other athletes came up with a lot of the creative slogans, and our entire athletics department had meaningful conversations over the summer in which we discussed our feelings towards the events that were happening. We wanted to show that we stand for equality for everyone and we believe that unifying our community is important, especially during these tumultuous times in our country. I’m happy I am able to play a role in this movement and I’m proud to be part of a community that puts these issues first and is not afraid to discuss difficult matters. It’s really important that we continue to use our platforms as athletes to voice our opinions and stand up for each other and what we believe in. The athletes here at Tech have done a great job so far, and will continue to lead by example.”
“I am very proud of our student-athletes for taking the lead on developing these department-wide initiatives. Our student-athletes are exceptional young people. They’re intelligent, thoughtful and socially aware. I truly believe that they will go on to be leaders in what will be our nation’s next ‘greatest generation,’” Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said. “All of the credit goes to them for engaging in meaningful conversations and, from those conversations, deciding on actions that we can all participate in to help unite our community and our nation. Through the power of sport, we have an incredible platform to bring people together, and I couldn’t be more proud of our student-athletes for using their platform to promote unity and a just society.”
Per an NCAA rule that allows student-athletes to wear an emblem on their uniforms to promote social causes, Georgia Tech football will wear GT’s unity emblem as a helmet decal when it opens the 2020 season on Saturday at Florida State. Tech’s football student-athletes will also wear t-shirts featuring the emblem when they arrive at the stadium and participate in early pregame warmups.
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