Not only has 2020 been ridden by a deadly pandemic, but also the call for race and social justice.
At Shippensburg University, athletic officials are implementing the “ONESHIP” initiative. In an Aug. 18 press release, the SU Athletics Department announced the initiative and the ONESHIP vision to create an anti-biased and anti-racist athletic community at the university.
SU Athletic Director Jeff Michaels said he was excited about the participation in the initiative.
“I’m excited about the ONESHIP initiative and appreciative of the staff members and student-athletes who have already taken part in the initial dialogue,” Michaels said. “The early conversations will be a key starting point and the action steps that follow will have a meaningful impact on participants.”
Since the announcement, the ONESHIP initiative has taken off. Most recently, student-athletes completed education sessions with speaker Jen Fry. There were four sessions held between Sept. 9-14.
Over the course of the four sessions, Fry focused on various issues including race, inclusion, intersectionality, diversity and equity. Participants attended Zoom sessions with breakout rooms that aligned with the ONESHIP initiative.
In a Sept. 15 release, lacrosse player and ONESHIP committee student representative Kiki Brasher said, “The Jen Fry workshop was very valuable to student-athletes because she had you actually talking about different topics and asking thought-provoking questions that would not have thought about before.”
Officials held three student-athlete listening sessions following the sessions with Fry. Student-athletes ran sessions from Sept. 22-24 as a continuation of the discussions in Fry’s workshops.
The ONESHIP initiative continues in collaboration with the SU’s non-partisan voter registration group, ShipVotes. Student-athletes were encouraged to register for the upcoming election.
The ONESHIPVotes vision includes all required athletic activities to be canceled on Election Day (Nov. 3) to help promote student-athlete participation in the election. To help encourage student-athletes to register, SU athletics created a tracker to show the percentage of student-athletes who are registered, which can be viewed on shipraiders.com. As of Sept. 23, 34% of all SU student-athletes are currently registered.
According to the SU athletics Twitter account, @ShipURaiders, since Sept. 24 the women’s swimming, tennis, and soccer teams have 100% of their players registered to vote. Not far behind them are the softball and field hockey teams.