The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) works with student-athletes, coaches and administrators at every level to equip them with the knowledge and skills to stand up against racism and advance the conversation around race relations. With sports being central to all that we do, participants learn about the history of race and sports, its power to drive change and how they can become leaders in their teams, schools and communities.
We realize that improving race relations is complex. That’s why we have developed a multi-level program to increase awareness, build skills and create "safe spaces" to have difficult conversations.
Our programs include three key components to enable lasting change.
- We develop materials and activities that are engaging and challenging.
- We take a train-the-trainer approach to enhance leadership skills within each school and partner organization.
- We assess our programs to identify what’s making the greatest impact and identify ways to improve.
High School Leadership Program
Our High School Leadership Program works with coaches to help increase student-athletes’ ability to recognize and address racial discrimination, bullying and harassment. In our pilot program, student participants reported that it improved the ability to think and talk about race. Specifically, they felt it had given them the skills to empathize and see things from others’ viewpoints.Request RISE education programs
Of the student participants:
- 95% said they are more concerned about racial inequality
- 94% felt they were better able to understand what it would be like to be a person of another race.
- 99% said the program improved their ability to understand someone of a different race.The RISE team, along with the coaches, teachers and administrators, are encouraged by these results.
To learn more and bring the program to your school or organization, email Education@RISEtoWIN.org.
College Leadership Program
RISE teams up with colleges and universities and collegiate conferences (such as the Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference) to provide a multifaceted leadership program for athletic departments. RISE’s on-campus efforts often begin with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee to provide training that increases awareness, builds skills and creates safe spaces to have difficult conversations about race. A multitude of topics are covered within the curriculum, such as identity, implicit bias and microaggressions. These topics are taught through a series of activities that each are aligned with core skills such as perspective taking and conflict resolution, critical to improving race relations. These programs can be customized to the specific needs of a college, university or conference. RISE has implemented leadership programs at the following universities: DePauw University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Texas Southern University, University of Houston, University of Michigan and University of Missouri.
We believe that in order to change behavior, we need to change perceptions and promote greater understanding. Reference the resources below designed to help you promote understanding, respect and equality.