Pac-12 to work with RISE to spread message of inclusion to student-athletes and fans

SAN FRANCISCO – With the goal of promoting inclusion and diversity, the Pac-12 will work with RISE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress, at various events, including conference championships and Pac-12 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) meetings, throughout the 2016-17 school year. 

In the pioneering spirit of the West Coast, the Pac-12 is committed to using sports to promote a culture of inclusion and tolerance. Through the Pac-12’s work with RISE and other initiatives, the conference is standing strong against bullying, spreading the message of tolerance, celebrating diversity, and fostering fairness and good sportsmanship.

“Our 12 member universities are shining beacons of intellectualism, respect, and inclusion, and the Pac-12 is constantly striving to embody those same ideals,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “We are committed to using our platform of athletics to promote inclusion among student-athletes and fans, and look forward to working with RISE to accomplish this goal.”

Representatives from RISE will join the Pac-12 SAAC at their semiannual meetings in November and April to speak with student-athlete leaders from all 12 Pac-12 campuses about identity, implicit bias, and micro-aggressions, to help student-athletes further understand the power of sports, media, and their teams. These student-athlete leaders will then take what they learn back to their campuses and spread the message of inclusion with their peers.

“We are excited to partner with the Pac-12 and applaud them for being one of the first collegiate conferences to make a commitment to provide their student-athletes and coaches with the right information and tools needed to have meaningful dialogue around issues of diversity, race, and inclusion,” said RISE CEO Jocelyn Benson. “Student-athletes are leaders and role models at their schools. Our hope is that they will take what they learn to bring people together on their campuses and communities to promote equality.”

In addition to the discussions at the semiannual meetings, RISE’s signature interactive photo booth, “It Takes All Colors,” will be integrated into Pac-12 championship events this school year. “It Takes All Colors” celebrates diverse athletes, coaches, and fans of all races standing together for a common goal at stadiums, arenas, and fields across the world. Pac-12 fans will be able to experience the interactive booth at the 2016 Pac-12 Football Championship Game (Dec. 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif.), the 2017 Pac-12 Wrestling Championship (Feb. 26, 2017 in Palo Alto, Calif.), and the 2017 Pac-12 Gymnastics Championship (Mar. 18, 2017 in Palo Alto, Calif.).

About the Pac-12 Conference
The Conference has a tradition as the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation in NCAA Championships in 51 of the last 56 years, with 488 NCAA team titles overall. The Conference comprises 12 leading U.S. universities: The University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University.  For more information on the Conference’s programs, member institutions, and Commissioner Larry Scott, go to www.pac-12.com/conference.

About the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE)
Founded in 2015 by Stephen M. Ross, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) is a 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, educators, media networks, sports professionals, and athletes, RISE uses sports as a vehicle to bring people together to promote understanding, respect, and equality. Through public awareness campaigns and educational programming, RISE aims to spark enduring action. To learn more, visit www.RISEtoWIN.org.

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