Conference Carolinas Diversity and Inclusion seminar

Student-athletes and athletics staff participate in diversity training workshop

Student-athletes and athletics staff from Lees-McRae represented the college at Conference Carolinas' Diversity and Inclusion Program in Greenville, South Carolina on Jan. 15. Conference Carolinas, the athletics conference that Lees-McRae belongs to, invited all involved teams to participate in the seminar.

Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Jaterra Hurst, Head Women’s Soccer Coach Cally Morrill, and two student-athletes from the women’s soccer team, sophomores Camryn Belin and Olivia Hoirup, attended the event. They were accompanied by the college’s Chief Diversity Officer Charles E. Gibson III.

The seminar focused on training attendees to use strategies for addressing difficult topics and having tricky conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also featured group exercises that encouraged attendees to open up to one another.

“We talked about different challenges that we all went through, and how we got to where we are today,” Belin said. “Just being able to listen to other people going through challenges and still being able to work through them was really inspiring.”

Belin and Hoirup agreed that being a part of such an intimate environment created a comfortable and inviting space where the attendees could get the most out of the training.

“The whole openness and acceptance of it was really nice,” Hoirup said. “Being able to have an open discourse about something in this preestablished environment where you know everyone’s going to share their backstory made the training a lot more effective. We were lucky to have our chief diversity officer there as well, so he talked a lot with us about ideas that we’d like to see on campus.”

Gibson attended the seminar in support of the athletic students and staff that were invited to the event. Afterward, he led a discussion about the training and how the attendees could implement what they learned into their daily lives back at Lees-McRae.

“There have been situations where it’s clear that conversations need to be had on this topic, and I don’t know that our staff necessarily had the tools or knowledge to have those conversations in a meaningful way,” Gibson said. “After attending the diversity and inclusion training, we now feel that we do have those tools.”

Vice President of Athletics and Club Sports Craig McPhail said that seeing representatives from Lees-McRae involved in the program means a lot for the college and athletic department’s commitment to diversity.

“The event was really important for members of our athletic department and campus to attend as we look to bring back great ideas to incorporate into our daily actions,” McPhail said. “Building upon some of our current practices will allow us to enhance the student-athlete experience, and I am excited to see what programming opportunities can come from this Conference Carolinas seminar.”

By Maya JarrellFebruary 01, 2022