NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The second day of the NCAA’s Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign utilizes the theme of “I’ve Got Your Back”, highlighting student-athletes supporting each other to foster inclusive environments. The creation of the Athletics Diversity Committee (ADC) within the Merrimack Athletics Department – featuring a diverse representation of student-athletes as well as mentorship for coaches and staff – showcases just that, a collective effort to foster an equitable and supportive community.
As a group, the ADC’s mission is to create a community within the athletics department where we better understand one another, celebrate our differences and welcome diversity. They envision a community within athletics where everyone understands each other better, differences are celebrated and diversity is welcomed. The committee exists to address the issues of inequality and the importance of its awareness, to ensure that every student and student-athlete feels welcomed on campus, as well as creating an environment in which everyone is equal and feels safe.
The ADC features a membership of 64 student-athletes as well as a leadership group that includes Co-Presidents Daryl Loreus (men’s track & field) and Alyssa Casey (women’s basketball), vice president Zoe Driscoll-Sbar (softball), secretary Autumn Truesdale (women’s basketball) and communications chair Cintia Khouzami. Deputy Athletic Director/SWA Diane Metcalf serves as their Athletic Administrative Advisor while other mentors for the group include head track & field coach Mark Connolly, head women’s basketball coach Kelly Morrone, head softball coach Elaine Schwager, head women’s lacrosse coach Julie Duffy and Assistant Athletic Director/Strength & Conditioning Michael Kamal.
“Since being sent home in March, our world and our country has changed quite a bit. One of the major events to happen since we have been home is the murder of George Floyd. With that came an international outcry, especially from our country demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice. With that said, I was lucky enough to have an amazing dialogue with my coach and realized this was an opportunity to make Merrimack College an even more inclusive and accepting institution,” Driscoll-Sbar commented.
“I reached out to a handful of student-athletes and asked for their help in starting a diversity committee within our athletics department. Over the last two months we’ve had deep and meaningful conversations which, because of the current climate in our country, have focused mainly on racial injustice. As a result of these conversations, we have established the Athletics Diversity Committee. Our goal is to create a community within athletics where we better understand one another, celebrate our differences and welcome diversity.”
In an effort to spread awareness and begin accomplishing its goals, the ADC has been active on campus the last two months. They have conducted a pair of events so far, an Injustice T-Shirt event (Sept. 24) as well as a Kneel in Solidarity event this past Monday, Oct. 26, to create awareness surrounding issues such as racial injustice and police brutality in addition to unifying campus with these efforts.
📸 | Photos from today’s Moment of Solidarity event, organized by the Athletics Diversity Committee & the Office of Multicultural Initiatives.
— Merrimack Athletics (@MC_Athletics) October 26, 2020
For more information on the Athletics Diversity Committee including information on how to join and announcements regarding future events, follow them on Instagram and send them a direct message to receive additional details.