NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Week Day 4 - Explaining What Diversity/Inclusion Mean to Me

NCAA Diversity and Inclusion Week Day 4 - Explaining What Diversity/Inclusion Mean to Me

This week the ECC will join student-athletes across the nation celebrating NCAA Diversity & Inclusion Week. With our schools located in some of the most diverse areas in the country, we'll celebrate our differences and show inclusion is a team sport.

Day four's theme is "Diversity Is ...Explaining what diversity/inclusion means to me." Throughtout the day, the conference highlighted numerous student-athletes on our social media accounts. Now a few get the chance to write in their own words about what diversity and inclusion means to them.

Renata Avendano - Bridgeport Women's Swimming

What attracted me the most about the UB swimming team, the big factor in deciding to commit to Bridgeport, aside from such a successful swimming program, was the big diversity on the team. The team is made up of over 10 different countries. That means over 10 completely different backgrounds, childhoods, traditions, food, languages, and lifestyles- but one big love and passion: swimming.

Hearing different languages in the water, it being curse words from the death being brought upon us in workouts, or the excitement of beating personal and team records, is what makes our team so special. Being able to travel around the world in a conversation between everyone on the pool deck is like nothing else, and later getting to actually travel around the world and having a place to stay in everywhere. Hearing how swimming in everyone’s country is so different yet so similar, and bringing all the unique characteristics from the sport from each country into one team is truly unique.

Although cultural differences do get in the way, at the end of the day it’s what we embrace the most. What makes UB Swimming, UB swimming, and for that I am proud, and truly grateful.

Rodger Colbert - District of Columbia Men's Lacrosse Head Coach

Diversity is the inclusion of social risk within ones’ life. “Any life truly lived is a risky business, and if one puts up too many fences against the risks one ends by shutting out life itself.”(Kenneth Davis) Within the parameters of the University of the District of Columbia Mens Lacrosse team, assuming risk through diversification is a primary goal. Our composition includes demographic, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic difference. We have come together to promote these differences, in effort to grow the game of lacrosse.

Our Historical Black College/University has invited prospective students and current alike to join us in meeting our goal. Changing the face of the sport and proactively including ‘all’ at an HBCU, is our representation of diversity. As a team, we participate in volunteering efforts throughout Washington, D.C. We have partnered with WINNERS Lacrosse every Sunday (throughout the fall) to ensure that no child, regardless of their own difference, is shut out of an opportunity to grow through the game of lacrosse. By linking education with a historically homogeneous sport, Mens Lacrosse at the University of the District of Columbia is DIVERSITY.

“Rigor, Courage, Discipline, Commitment” is a 501 c (3) non-profit organization that partners with communities to grow the game of lacrosse. Our youth and their enhancement, through lacrosse participation, are cultivated through team building and skill development.

Rickssen Opont - St. Thomas Aquinas Men's Track & Field

To me diversity is people coming together from different areas and backgrounds to create new opportunities to learn about each other and to come together as a team or unit.

Sam Rivera - NYIT Women's Lacrosse

Every person is a unique blend of cultures, shaped by their parents, friends, environment and the world they come from. Languages are gateways that allow humans to experience how other race’s societies and customs differ from their own. It allows you to appreciate and dive into a new realm of cuisine, fashion, art, literature, music, and general demeanor, expanding your horizons and increasing your understanding of the world. When you look at a situation from the viewpoint of someone whose culture is different than your own, and really invest time into comprehending their environment, how they live, what they are told, why they perceive certain things to be wrong vs right, and how they are brought up overall, you are able to build superior and stronger relationships. Extremes such as wars and detestation are harder to justify when one is able to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and develop sympathy and understanding for one another.

Studying in a different cultural setting or language than your native one stimulates your brain, forcing you to process ideas differently while invigorating more areas of your brain. NYIT is dedicated to creating a diverse environment in which its students will face challenges and circumstances they have never encountered and must work together to be victorious. NYIT, like the city it calls home, New York, is a true melting pot, overflowing with multiculturalism thus allowing for global experiences and worldly interactions to occur at your footsteps. Every aspect of NYIT, whether it be political science or engineering, is impacted by its diversity and stands to uphold the many unique cultures of the college to remain connected to and be a forefront in the world. NYIT’s positive and inviting attitude towards ideas unlike its own is what I value most about the university.

Fernanda Castro - Mercy Women's Soccer

Diversity to me means being able to celebrate the differences among my peers. The only true way to live a meaningful life is to explore different cultures and at times get out of our comfort zone to understand different ideas in life. Once you become open minded with different aspects of life rather than your own, you can truly understand what it means to live in a diverse world.

Kamala Thompson - Molloy Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach

In today's day in age, we all could use more tolerance. For me, diversity means understanding more and growing through experience and seeing differences everyday. Thinking you know it all or embody it all sounds like a simple, ignorant life. In my opinon, life should be more fun than that -- something full of culture and diversity in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, background, langauge, and skill. 

Veronica Scruggs - Mercy Women’s Soccer

Diversity means a lot of different things to me.   It means meeting new people from different cultures and ethnic backgrounds, and it is important because without diversity we would all be considered the same.  We are not, I now have friends who are from all over the country and even friends who are from different countries.  Having a diverse school like Mercy has taught me many things and I’m very happy to call myself a Maverick.

Jayson Mayorga - District of Columbia Men's Soccer

The UDC Men’s soccer team is full of diversity. Each player has different backgrounds and socio economic status. Soccer is the vehicle that creates fellowship. Local and international student-athletes have chosen UDC as a place of study and an opportunity to grow. The players voted on UDC standing for a United Diverse Culture.

Diversity means the opportunity to discover experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to experience myself. Experiences that enlighten your empathetic sensibilities and impact  your outlook on life itself. Diversity minimizes ignorance and improves education of self and others. The locker room creates a unique opportunity for diversity to be explored. The motley sound of music that resonates through the locker room, and through the hallways of the athletic building, exemplifies the cultural assimilation that occurs from sharing many bonding experiences with one another.

As a local from Silver Spring, I enjoy seeing the diversity within our local players. The many backgrounds help us understand the differences in cultures and values while still being able to relate to one another. Being able to learn about these differences help set a level of base knowledge that lets us integrate the many international student-athletes, who are adapting to US culture, with ease.

Diversity is to be acknowledged and celebrated. With greater appreciation of it, we can develop greater empathy and understanding of each other both on and off the field.

To check out all that shared how they are "Beyond a Label," check out the Twitter moment below or head over to our Instagram page at @eccsports.