At the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, two Wichita State students developed a student organization focused on diversity, equity and inclusion within sports.
Sport management majors Hannah Jasinski and Taylin Fox founded the CHAMPS organization after reflecting about how they are underrepresented in the sports industry. Jasinski identifies as Latina Mexican, and Fox identifies as white and Mexican. Both also identify as women in sports.
Jasinski came up with the idea for the organization during the summer of 2020.
“I was reflecting on the racial injustices happening in America and I thought about how I could make a difference,” Jasinski said. “I believe that change happens at home and my home on campus is the sport management department.”
Jasinski reached out to Fox, and from then on, their idea was on its way to becoming reality.
“CHAMPS is the shortened version of the word ‘champion,’ Fox said. “To explain the title of the organization, we use the definition, ‘a person who fights for or defends any person or cause.’ This name is representative of the tie among sports, diversity and inclusion.”
The CHAMPS organization is in the process of becoming a Registered Student Organization (RSO). Right now, members meet biweekly over Zoom and engage in discussion about current events in the sports industry.
“I hope this organization will create a space for sport management students to engage in the tough conversations they might be reluctant to bring up in the classroom,” Jasinski said.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization hopes to branch out into the community to participate in applied learning experiences.
Fox said that in the future, she wants CHAMPS to go to Wichita sports organizations and meet with them to discuss policies they have that protect their professionals from racism and discrimination. She wants CHAMPS members to learn about the initiatives local sports companies are doing and speak to them about what CHAMPS fights for.
Aaron Tollefson, freshman in sport management, is a member and scout for CHAMPS. He joined the organization because he wanted to become more involved in his degree program. Now, Tollefson dedicates his time to bringing new members to the organization.
“The group is a way to express new points of view about the sports industry that I wouldn’t have thought of before hearing it from other people,” Tollefson said.
Tollefson is one of only six men in CHAMPS. He feels as though his membership is important and rewarding.
“As a man, it’s important for me to engage in these conversations because I serve as an ally for underrepresented groups in sports,” Tollefson said. “Talking about these things can put new perspectives in the heads of powerful people, which has the potential to lead to real change.”
Tollefson hopes that ultimately, the group will grow, and members will be able to make a difference at Wichita State and in the Wichita sports community.
CHAMPS is an organization primarily for sports management students, but Jasinski says that if students have a passion for sports or a passion for diversity and inclusion in the sports industry, CHAMPS is still a wonderful organization to be a part of because of the productive discussion it offers.
If you would like to join the CHAMPS organization, contact the College of Applied Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org.