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An essential part of our work at the collegiate level 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. To achieve this, we have developed a framework built upon these four core principles:

Assess, support and measure growth of student-athletes, coaches and administrators in the promotion of race relations and social justice
Amplify the voice of student-athletes to engage their local communities and showcase their commitment and the institution's to encourage others to stand against racism
Strengthen cultural competency skills and motivate student-athletes, coaches and administrators to become inclusive leaders
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

Collegiate Athletes Believe Racism is a Concern and Want to Address It

RISE has engaged thousands of student-athletes at all levels of college athletics across the country and discovered that student-athletes are concerned with racism and have a desire to be change agents in their communities.


College athletes who feel obligated to raise awareness about social justice issues


College athletes who are willing to speak up and be more active around social issues


College athletes who want to learn more about addressing race, diversity and inclusion issues

Discovery Phase & Needs Assessment

Before implementing our programming, RISE conducts a needs assessment to gain an understanding of student-athlete, coach and staff perspectives and experiences regarding race, race relations and social justice. Surveys inform our individualized strategic plans designed to meet the athletic department's goals in the area of diversity and inclusion. This phase includes:

  • Two perception surveys: 1) student-athlete survey; and 2) coach/staff survey
  • 90-minute student-athlete session with a concluding satisfaction survey
  • 90-minute coach/staff session with a concluding satisfaction survey
  • Survey data analysis (total of four surveys)
  • Needs assessment recap inclusive of a recommended action plan

Perception Survey

The RISE College Athlete and Staff/Coaches Surveys are designed to gather student-athletes', staff and coaches' perceptions of race, racism and social justice and the roles they believe they can play in addressing racism and inclusion on campus and beyond. RISE creates a report that recaps the data captured.

See more from RISE's College Athletics Survey on Racism & Athlete Activism

Leadership Workshops

Interactive training for student-athletes, coaches and administrators that cover a multitude of topics and skills. We build skills and create safe spaces to have difficult conversations. Our curriculum covers topics such as identity, bias, diversity concepts and athlete activism and teaches skills such as perspective taking, empathy, critical thinking and leadership. Programming can include student or coaches workshops, train-the-trainer sessions and more.

Civic Engagement and RISE to Vote

We've engaged thousands of professional and college athletes, coaches and athletic staff through our nonpartisan RISE to Vote initiative, educating them on how to vote and why it matters and empowering them to use their voice to effect real change. We offer efficient voter registration and education opportunities and share how students and athletes can become more active citizens and inspire their fans and communities to do the same. We partner with nonpartisan voter registration organizations, as well as state election officials, to provide accurate and effective voter registration sessions and resources that address the specific needs of a given state.

Learn More

Critical Conversations

We host strategic and programmed conversations to develop solution-oriented agendas that focus on provoking positive change on campus, in the community and nationally. These town hall-style programs incorporate multiple stakeholders and multiple perspectives, producing tangible outcomes and elevating relevant voices within an organization and the sports community. We use sports to convene the likes of athletes, students, coaches, executives, community leaders and law enforcement, to discuss ways they can create positive social change in respect to race relations, inclusivity, civic engagement and social justice.

"The RISE program is really beneficial. It gets people talking about hard conversations that need to be had."

Jolene Daninger

DePaul Women's Basketball '21

"RISE has been instrumental in helping our institutions, student-athletes and administrators navigate those tough topics."

Shamaree Brown

ACC, Director, Student-Athlete Programs & Compliance

Champions of Change Fan Experience

Champions of Change takes participants on an immersive, multi-sensory journey designed to educate, evoke empathy and inspire action. People who visit Champions of Change at major sporting events throughout the country or through our virtual experience learn about the historic intersection of sports and social justice, walk in the shoes of sports stars to hear first-person accounts of the role race has played in their lives and demonstrate their commitment to racial equity by taking the RISE Pledge to End Racism and learning how to become leaders for social justice in their communities.



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