Here to Play

Earlier this month, the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) named Humber College winner of the Innovation Award for the #HereToPlay campaign.

The Innovation Award recognizes a CCAA member institution that has developed an initiative that demonstrates unique marketing, communication or technological advances in its athletic program.

"Humber took steps to tangibly demonstrate that every individual matters," said David Munro, CCAA's vice president of Sport Development. "Their collaboration with the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre was a terrific move forward to make Athletics a safe place."

With help from the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre, Humber Athletics sought to establish and maintain an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for all. Michael Kopinak, Associate Athletic Director for Humber Athletics, in collaboration with Natalie Elisha, Student Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Coordinator, were influential in the creation of this partnership.

Here to Play

"This is great recognition for athletics and the college," said Kopinak. "The partnership was designed to build awareness of the experiences of LGBTQ+ students in athletics and recreation spaces. This award helps to build that awareness."

In 2014, Humber Athletics was the recipient of the CCAA Community Service Award for the creation of the Hawks Have Heart program.

"We still have a long way to go, but we are heading in the right direction," Kopinak added. "We need to continue to spread awareness that we are creating a foundation to make Humber athletics a safe space. We want to build on the momentum that has been created over these past few months."

A series of videos used to highlight the importance of sport and the role it can play to promote an inclusive culture are currently in production. The first video highlighted hazing, while the second supported inclusion. Episode three, which will focus on mental health, is in production and expected to be released this fall.

Bystander training for all student-athletes and staff was also incorporated to shed light on sexual violence, and all fall under the #HereToPlay campaign umbrella.