MIAA task force chooses three Newman representatives

Oct 15, 2020
MIAA jets

In the MIAA’s continuing efforts to uphold values of inclusion and equity, an MIAA Community Culture Task Force has been created made up of 14 members, three of whom are from Newman University.

As stated in a recent article on the MIAA’s official website, “The Task Force will serve as an advisory group to the conference office, focused on the goals in the MIAA strategic plan … to enhance diversity and inclusion in intercollegiate athletics while identifying strategies to create first-class, family-friendly events that reflect the values of the association.”

Comprising five athletic administrators, four student-athletes, two faculty members and two coaches, the task force is well-represented on all fronts, making for a balanced perspective and an effective team.

From Newman University, Bachelor of Social Work Program Director Yelando Johnson, senior Alejandro “Alex” Ultreras and junior Trinity Conley will be working with the task force to reach goals.

Johnson reiterated the fact that the task force will focus on two things — the first being the promotion of diversity and inclusion, the second being the research and planning of events, which will emphasize the association’s general values. She continued by stressing the importance of diversity.

“I’ve never been involved in athletics, so that drew me,” said Johnson. “They started talking about equity and inclusion … that’s important, so I wanted to be a part of that.”

She also spoke on the importance of athletic involvement and interdisciplinary involvement as a whole, showing a specialized passion that might come up in her time on the task force.

“I’ve had a couple of athletes in my classes. … I got to know them and started feeling that call to help them get involved, to get that overall college experience. I think athletes should be well-rounded — you might come to college because you love the sport, but (getting) involved in community events is something to look forward to.”

Ultreras, who is majoring in accounting and is on the men’s cross country team, shared his excitement on being involved with the task force.

“I believe it’s a big thing. I’m sure I’m going to be learning a lot from the others on the task force. I hope to dive more into the MIAA as a whole with other schools and collaborate and implement for Newman.”

Conley, a biology major with a concentration in pre-physical therapy and a player on the volleyball team, gave some philosophical input on the notion of diversity.

“Diversity is important as it helps expand others’ views on many different cultures and values. It can help them understand their classmates, co-workers or teammates better if they know a little bit more about where they come from and who they are. It also can help create a more solid and successful environment for everyone, as it can build strong relationships between a group.”

With meetings underway, the MIAA Community Culture Task Force is already researching and discussing ways to take care of the players and communities surrounding them.