February 3, 2015

NAC Recognized as February's NCAA Division III Diversity Spotlight Recipient

The North Atlantic Conference (NAC) has received notable recognition since the release of its 11 You Can Play videos, with the latest honor coming from the NCAA on Monday. The NAC was selected as the February recipient of the Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative.

The NCAA Division III Diversity Spotlight Initiative is a new program designed to recognize and promote outstanding diversity-related projects, programming and initiatives that are occurring on Division III campuses and in conference offices. Each month, the award recognizes an institution or conference, with award recipients receiving $500 toward their next diversity initiative.

For the NCAA release, please click HERE.

"Receiving the February Diversity Spotlight recognition means so much to our conference," NAC Commissioner Julie Muller said. "Our 10 membership institutions strive to make their campus communities safe, equitable, and inclusive. This award shines a light on the positive work that our students continue to do and helps solidify that we are making strides in the right direction."

In the NAC, “If you can play, you can play.”

In the spring of 2013, the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Presidents Council affirmed its commitment to respect and inclusion by placing their support behind a project aimed at combatting homophobia on campuses and recognizing the benefit of diversity at each of its membership institutions. It was through the hard work and thoughtful discussion of the NAC SAAC that shaped the message and launched the NAC You Can Play project.

The 10 membership institutions of the NAC showed their commitment to promoting respect for all by developing a conference-wide You Can Play video project. Supporting the You Can Play Mission of “ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard for sexual orientation,” the NAC captured the perspectives of student-athletes, administrators and coaches to convey a commitment of inclusion for, and in support of, all members of the conference community.

The NAC’s unique approach is a three-minute video that captures student voices from each membership institution. The students were unscripted and shared their own personal viewpoints and experiences. To add to the message, a 30 second video was created for each member institution where administrators and students affirm that at their institution, “If you can play, you can play.” These videos tie the conference together, affirm their commitment to diversity and inclusion, and publicly stand up for LGBT inclusion.

The greatest aspect of this video series is the creators. The forerunners of this initiative have all been students from across the conference. This project was student created from the very start of the process in 2013 when Matt Dekens, former NAC SAAC President and Johnson State College student-athlete pitched the idea. Several seniors at the New England School of Communications of Husson University traveled over 1,500 miles to sit down with NAC student-athletes and athletics staff to effectively capture the You Can Play mission. Conference opponents came together to promote and become champions of inclusion, and they are this month’s Diversity Spotlight Recipient.

To view the NAC's You Can Play commitment featured nationally on the #WhyD3 Show, please click HERE.

The NAC is recognized as a "league partner" with the You Can Play Team, please click HERE.

To provide support for this project and full inclusion for individuals in sport, sign the pledge to take a stand at: http://youcanplayproject.org/page/s/take-a-stand.

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