Wells Welcomes Guest Speaker To Celebrate NCAA Division III Week

Wells Welcomes Guest Speaker To Celebrate NCAA Division III Week

AURORA, N.Y. – As part of Scholarship and Engagement Day at Wells College in early April, the Wells College Department of Athletics welcomed Nancy Boutilier to Aurora to speak about issues of inclusivity and equity in college athletics. Boutilier’s presence at Wells coincided with NCAA Division III week, a national celebration of the accomplishments of student-athletes. The week-long celebration, held nationwide from Apr. 9-Apr. 15, helped to showcase the Division III philosophy, which equally values academics, athletics and student-athlete involvement in co-curricular and extracurricular activities.

“Inclusion is a major focus of all Division III schools, but specifically is a major focus here at Wells,” explained Director of Athletics Michael Borsz. “Over 35% of the student population at Wells are members of sports teams. We must be inclusive and integrated into the campus culture in order to operate and thrive.”

In front of a large gathering of student-athletes across all of Wells’ 15 NCAA Division III varsity sports, Boutilier spoke about the value of “playing well with others” and what diversity, inclusion and equity means to college athletic programs and their athletes today. Within the sports arena, Boutilier argued, is where student-athletes as part of a larger collegiate atmosphere should carry out their role as agents of inclusion.

Boutilier’s presentation was designed to spark critical thinking about how student-athletes at Wells can help bridge the divide between the various fields of study and the various athletic fields. As a collective, Boutilier encouraged student-athletes to challenge the stereotypes of student-athletes and support diversity amongst their teams with the ultimate goal of strengthening their unity and sense of mission to the college.

Having served as a student-athlete at Harvard University, as well as a writer, coach and athletic director, Boutilier has been addressing issues of equity and inclusion in sports for over 30 years. She has conducted trainings for coaches and athletes on inclusion and presented at national conferences. Boutilier has made a career balancing sports and academics in her life by combining her classroom teaching with coaching at both the high school and college levels. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Oberlin College.

Alongside Boutilier’s lecture, the Wells College Dining Hall hosted a well-attended student-athlete appreciation cookout on Saturday, Apr. 6 that coincided with not only the men’s and women’s soccer alumni games, but also several varsity contests including softball and men’s lacrosse games.

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