RISE, University of Arizona announce partnership

November 7, 2017

Wildcats become 1st collegiate partner to plan Unity Game

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) and Arizona Athletics today announced a partnership to bring RISE’s leadership and education programs to University of Arizona student-athletes, coaches and fans.

The partnership includes UA becoming RISE’s first collegiate partner to plan a Unity Game. RISE and the Wildcats will host the game Friday, Jan. 19, when the women’s basketball team takes on the University of Colorado at McKale Center.

The unity theme will be reflected in programming throughout the day, including a campus and community conversation bringing together student-athletes, university and community leaders, and law enforcement; RISE’s signature “It Takes All Colors” digital fan photo experience; and giveaways.

Founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, RISE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Led by an unprecedented alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals, RISE uses sports to promote understanding, respect and equality.

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the University of Arizona,” said RISE CEO Jocelyn Benson. “For the work we’ve already completed with the Wildcats, they have been among our most dedicated and enthusiastic university partners. That’s exemplified in the passion their student-athletes, coaches and administrators have shown in preparing to be our first collegiate partner in the nation to plan a Unity Game with RISE.”

The partnership with UA will include various RISE training programs to educate and empower student-athletes, coaches and administrators to be leaders in discussing and addressing matters of racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusivity within their teams, university and communities.

RISE began building awareness on campus during a Monday, Sept. 25, student-athlete kick-off session with the “It Takes All Colors” photo activation.

On Monday, Nov. 13, RISE will meet with more than 30 UA student-athlete leaders for a workshop including activities on identity and diversity. As part of the workshop, the student-athletes will generate ideas about what they collectively can do on campus to be leaders in promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion, particularly in the area of race relations.

“We are very excited about our partnership with RISE. Arizona Athletics is committed to an environment of inclusive excellence and promoting understanding, respect and equality. We are looking forward to our Unity Game and continuing to educate our student-athletes and staff on these important issues,” said Dave Heeke, UA director of athletics.

RISE also has partnerships with Michigan State University in East Lansing, Morehouse College in Atlanta, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and University of Missouri in Columbia. In addition, RISE has presented events and programs at Boston College; DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana; Florida State University in Tallahassee; Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Texas Southern University in Houston; University of Colorado-Boulder; University of Houston; and University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

For more information about RISE, visit www.RISEtoWIN.org

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