The Valparaiso University Department of Athletics has announced plans to reimagine the #oneVALPO promise to reflect the thoughts, needs and priorities of the current student-athletes, administrators, coaches and staff members.
The #oneVALPO initiative was created by former Valpo men’s soccer head coach Mike Avery and his program in response to members of the team being subjected to racial slurs during a nonconference game in 2013. Now, the Valpo Athletics family will have meaningful, productive and respectful discussions to develop a reinvigorated message that will provide clarity, comfort and a purposeful move to combine action with celebration and education.
Valpo Athletics will partner with Avery, the founder of Center Circle Influencers and the Vice President and Senior Consultant of Equilibria in Sports & Education, to review and revise the #oneVALPO promise over the next two months.
“While our core values remain an important part of who we are as an Athletics Department and the #oneVALPO promise has helped bring us together around our value of respect, the events of this summer have shown a need for a more action-oriented promise,” Valparaiso Director of Athletics Mark LaBarbera said. “The acts of racial injustice and subsequent protests across the nation have helped us recognize that the student-athletes, coaches and staff of color within the Valpo Athletics family need to know that the broader Athletics family recognizes their hurt and stands ready to listen to them and look for active ways to support them as valued family members.”
The revision effort, which will be facilitated by Avery, will involve Valpo administrators, coaches and student-athletes and will include representatives from all of the department’s athletic programs.
“I promise to show respect for all others regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, nationality, age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical ability, or mental ability.
I promise to refrain from using derogatory terms that may be harmful or disrespectful to others.
I promise to educate myself about cultures different from my own.
I promise to celebrate the opportunity to stretch and strengthen my own understanding of the world around me, and to engage and contribute to the diversity of my community.
I promise to celebrate the diversity I encounter just as I celebrate my own individuality.
I promise to remember that our true potential rests in our ability to tap into each of our unique characteristics, strengths and gifts, and to remember that together we are more than we are alone.”