GLIAC Announces Diversity and Inclusion Task Force "Champions for Change"

GLIAC Announces Diversity and Inclusion Task Force "Champions for Change"

GLIAC-- The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) has announced the league’s new Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, Champions for Change. Formed back in November, the group has been developing strategies and goals to examine and address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion among our league, schools, and communities.

The task force has met three times and engaged in discussions on various topics, such as awareness, education, recruiting, hiring practices and civic engagement.

With the announcement of "Champions for Change" on MLK day, the task force believed it was important for the league to share how each institution is honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. To view the listing of MLK celebration events, visit here. The league will also be releasing content on our social media platforms honoring the late Dr. King.

Members of the Champions for Change committee are made up of coaches, student-athletes, and administrators who were nominated from all 12 GLIAC institutions and selected by the conference office.

GLIAC Diversity and Inclusion Task Force - "Champions For Change" 
Davenport Ronda Varnesdeel Asst. AD - Senior Woman Advisor
Ferris State Jasmyn Walker Asst. Women's Basketball Coach 
Grand Valley State  Rhys Green Student-Athlete | Women's Lacrosse 
Lake Superior State Nadege Koua Student-Athlete | Women's Tennis 
Michigan Tech Marvin Wright Student-Athlete | Football 
Northern Michigan  Forrest Karr Athletic Director 
Purdue Northwest  Vanessa Quinn Faculty Athletic Representative 
Saginaw Valley State  Michael Pierce Assoc. AD Compliance & Academic Services
Wayne State  Paul Winters Head Football Coach 
Parkside  Jazmine Neal Student-Athlete | Volleyball 


"The league had placed Diversity and Inclusion at the forefront and developed goals into our 5-year strategic plan, and we believe this task force will help us reach those benchmarks.” Commissioner Dunbar Said. “The dialogue we’ve had and the plans and strategies we’ve developed in just a few short months has me excited for the future of our league. I’m really looking forward to the work and progress that stems from “Champions for Change”.

For the month of February, Champions for Change will provide student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and the conference office staff a series of speakers looking to promote diversity and inclusion, and meaningful discussions. The names and dates of these series will be announced at a later date.

“Champions for Change” derives from the league’s slogan “Where Champions Compete”, said Champions for Change Advisor Marcus Thatcher. “The league had recently realigned our committee structure, and we wanted to reform our Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce by placing a large emphasis on the input from our student-athletes. Our student-athletes want a platform to let their voices be heard, and we wanted to provide them with that platform and the opportunities to participate in meaningful dialogue.”

 About the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), founded in 1972, has been a leader in the advancement and promotion of intercollegiate athletics for men and women for 48 years. The charter members of the GLIAC were Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Lake Superior State University, Northwood University, and Saginaw State University. The current membership now includes 12 full members: Ashland University, Davenport University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, Northwood University, Purdue University Northwest, Saginaw Valley State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Wisconsin Parkside. The Conference has grown to offer championships in 21 sports while rising to prominence on the national level as GLIAC teams and student-athletes have achieved success both in the classroom and on the fields of play.