The college’s Center for Sport,Peace, and Society, along with the Department of Athletics and the Division of Student Life are partnered together for a common goal—to span the boundaries of three different areas of campus for the development of student-athletes in a new VOLeaders Academy.
By using their platform in sport, student-athletes admitted into the VOLeaders Academy will learn how to positively impact their team, campus, and local and global communities.
The program aims to inspire student-athletes to find ways to use their passion of sport and their influence to enact positive change that transcends their athletic success.
“The Center for Sport, Peace, and Society is excited to partner with UT Athletics and The Center for Leadership and Service on this groundbreaking initiative,” said Sarah Hillyer, the center’s director. “The thoughtful intersection of education, sport, leadership, service, and international exchanges reflect the very heartbeat of what we do. As former student-athletes, we know the potential sport has to teach powerful leadership skills; we look forward to helping student-athletes discover these skills and apply them in ways that change the world.”
This is not a traditional student-athlete leadership development program. The student-athletes selected for the program will have the opportunity to get a real-world perspective on leadership.
“As dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, it is with great enthusiasm that I offer our support to the VOLeaders Academy,” said Bob Rider. “The goals of this new academy are congruent with critically important components of our college mission, focusing on the nurturing and development of servant leaders. This important collaboration will help in building an important bridge between academics and athletics,and assist in advancing the respective missions of both entities. I look forward to working with our partners in the Athletics Department and in the Division of Student Life in launching VOLeaders and participating in the good and important work to come.”
The final component of the VOLeaders Academy will be a ten-day cultural exchange providing applied leadership and service opportunities focused on community development and social change through sport.
International destinations will vary each year with the first trip planned for Brazil, site of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in partnership with the UT Center for Sport, Peace, and Society.
The opportunity to work in Brazil ahead of the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics is an exciting prospect to kick off the program’s first year.
“With the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics in Rio 2016, we are thrilled for students to capstone this academy with such a meaningful international learning opportunity and to see the ways leadership learned through sport can positively transform communities and societies at large,” Ashleigh Huffman, assistant director of the Center for Sport, Peace,
and Society said.