By Sarah F. Griffin
On March 27 at 6 p.m., the athletic department held its 2023 celebration of Womxn’s Leadership in Rider Athletics at the Cavalla Room in the Bart Luedeke Center.
“The word womxn’s is used to reflect the dynamic and fluid nature of gender identity and expression and to be inclusive of all people who identify as womxn,” said Karin Torchia, the Senior Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Women’s Administrator (SWA), in an email to The Rider News.
“Rider Athletics has implemented several initiatives to be inclusive, including our Broncs for Change program, hosting a zoom speaker this Sunday (in collaboration with the Office of Campus Life) on LGBTQIA+ Inclusivity in Sports for all student-athletes, club sports and recognition programs, hosting Pride Day/Night at several of our home athletics contests and providing opportunities for our student athletes to receive training to be an ALLY. We also utilize Athlete’s Ally to help us review and enhance our inclusivity efforts,” Torchia said.
The event consisted of a dinner for athletes, their families and friends, as well as speeches from Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo, Torchia and Dr. Pamela Pruitt, the director of Rider’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), as well as an awards ceremony for athletes.
The Womxn’s Leadership in Rider Athletics event focused “on the achievements of our womxn in varsity and club sports. So we talked primarily about their academic, community service, leadership, and diversity and inclusion efforts,” Torchia said of the outlines for receiving an award. “The academic ones are based on cumulative GPA, but the leadership, community service, CDI and the ‘Best Of’ in club sports are voted on by the planning committee members.”
Paola Carlesso, a junior global studies major, is a member of Rider’s women’s swimming team.
“I really like the team aspect of it. As you know, swimming is an individual sport, but it really is a team effort in training and practicing, which we do everyday, and being with my teammates is really fun,” Carlesso said. Carlesso also said that being on a team is “underrated, but very valuable.”
“Events like this are definitely good ways to highlight female athletes; I was also part of a panel hosted by the Rider Diversity and Inclusion Office, and five women spoke, including myself and Karin Torchia, so I think Rider is getting better at highlighting women’s sports. There are some great individuals that deserve the recognition they are getting,” Carlesso added.
Carlesso said that while it was nice that the event was held in March, highlighting the achievements of female athletes along with all student athletes, “should be a year-round effort.”
Raihana Yameogo, a freshman sociology major on the Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field team, won the night’s CDI award.
“When we came to orientation, I remember hearing the speech on diversity and inclusion, and in my college search diversity was something I wanted because I grew up in a place that wasn’t that diverse,” Yameogo said.
Dr. Pruitt mentioned that Yameogo was barred from officially being a member of the CDI due to her position as an athlete; however, Yamego was determined to get involved in activities promoting diversity.
Yameogo said that Rider’s CDI and Multicultural Student Leadership Institute is a great place to meet a diverse group of people, but caveated that Rider needs other ways of inclusion in order to expand on diversity.