This nonprofit uses ‘sport as a vehicle for social justice’ at colleges across the nation

RISE speaks to student-athletes and coaches across America about ‘racial equity and social justice.’

Campus Reform reports on social justice and woke ideologies within universities' athletics departments.

A nonprofit organization called RISE is partnering with college campuses across the country to create “inclusive campus environments” by means of educating student-athletes and coaches about “race and equality.” 

RISE admittedly “uses sport as a vehicle for social justice.” The national nonprofit’s mission is to “educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.”

“Creating a nation unified through sports committed to racial equity and social justice,” the website states.

RISE is sponsored by many national brands such as ESPN, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), Nascar, the National Football League (NFL), Reebok and Pepsi. 

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At the collegiate level specifically, RISE “focuses on helping institutions assess the racial climate on their campus and then equipping students, athletes, coaches and administrators with the tools and skills to lead in fostering a more inclusive campus environment.”

The organization implements “four core principles” that aim to accomplish this goal. One of which is to “provide collegiate partners with the tools and methodology to understand the campus climate as it relates to diversity and inclusion and develop structures that make this work pervasive and holistic.”

RISE’s collegiate program starts off with “perception surveys” that gather participants’ “perceptions of race, racism and social justice and the roles they believe they can play in addressing racism and inclusion on campus and beyond.”

Then, student-athletes and coaches participate in workshops, “strategic and programmed conversations” and civic engagement campaigns based on the “recommended action plan” crafted by RISE. 

RISE has impacted numerous universities across the nation including Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University, Arizona State University, Clemson University, St. Thomas Aquinas College, University of Alabama, and Florida State University.

The organization touts that almost 75 percent of its participants were not involved with a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative before RISE. Further, 57 percent of student-athlete participants admitted that RISE was their “first exposure to DEI programming,” according to the organization’s website.  

Georgetown University Director of Athletics Lee Reed and president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Mark Emmert sit on the board of directors of RISE. 

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One of RISE’s action items is “RISE to Vote“ which has taught “thousands” of student-athletes and coaches “how to vote and why it matters.” RISE hosts 30-60 minute in-person or virtual sessions that teaches viewers about “voter registration and education.”

Florida International University, the University of Texas, and the University of California- Los Angeles are among several colleges that have participated in RISE’ voting campaign.

At sporting events across the country, RISE hosts an interactive, “immersive, multi-sensory” experience called “Champions of Change.” Its purpose is to “educate, evoke empathy and inspire action” by means of learning about the “historic intersection of sports and social justice.”

Additionally, RISE encourages Champions of Change attendees and student-athletes to take its “Pledge to End Racism.”

“I PLEDGE to treat everyone with respect and dignity. I will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. I will speak out, RISE up and be a Champion of Change,” the pledge reads.

Campus Reform reached out to the universities mentioned in this article and RISE for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.