(WIVB) – The University of Buffalo’s student athletes are used to working together to take on the opposing team.
Now, a handful of athletes from UB’s sports programs and members of the university’s faculty and staff are teaming up to tackle racial and social justice issues.
The newly formed “Stronger Together” task force is a collaborative effort to create positive change for the UB athletic department, the university, and the community.
“At UB, we value diversity, equity, and inclusion,” UB’s director of athletics Mark Alnutt said. “As a Task Force, we’re working collectively to look at the issues out there, but more importantly have action- not just statements, not just words, but really having an impact on our campus and on our community.”
The task force has been meeting virtually to hold discussions about what can be done to connect with the community.
One topic the task force has talked about is voting- getting people registered to vote and educated on the issues.
The topic of voter suppression has also been brought up- as well as the idea of student athletes volunteering at polling places, Alnutt said.
“When Election day comes, let’s have our student athletes and staff go volunteer, and be that welcoming face for those who are entering the polls,” Alnutt said.
The Task Force has also discussed community service and having student athletes work with local youth to talk about important issue, as well as continuing to educate themselves on diversity and inclusion.
“Athletics is this incredible platform,” Alnutt said. “Through current events that have happened and continue to happen since the death of George Floyd, it gave me an opportunity to really dig in, to be aware of our student athletes and staff and to understand what we can do to be leaders on our campus and to connect with the community.”
The task force began meeting about three weeks ago.
“Our meetings are going very well as we try to collect all of these ideas,” Alnutt said. “Now, our next step is to turn these ideas into action, and action that makes a difference.”