On September 24, 2020, a dozen members from a variety of sports at Moravian and a few non-athletes founded More Than A Hound (MTAH), an organization that teaches student athletes, coaches, people in leadership positions, and others how to be more inclusive of students of every race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, class, and creed.
“We are trying to give student athletes the true opportunity to be a student athlete,” said Tim King ‘22, a founding member and a thrower on the men’s track and field team. “A lot of times we are seen just as an athlete and even less at other times.”
Cami Wheeler ’21, a sprinter on the College’s track and field team, was an early member of MTAH. “I felt obligated as a student athlete and as a woman to help out where I could, to aid in facilitating conversations to improve diversity and inclusion in Moravian’s athletic program,” she said.
To that end, MTAH created a safe space in Johnston Hall 102, where students can have comfortable and uncomfortable conversations about race, class, gender, and privilege, among other issues, while learning from each others’ stories and experiences.
MTAH is a “non-judgmental space and positive environment that helps foster open-mindedness and empathy,” King said.
Among the group’s first initiatives was to meet with a group of current head coaches in Moravian’s Department of Athletics and Recreation to discuss the importance of inclusion and to raise awareness of potential racial and social injustices in college sports.
Another goal was to ensure that coaches were given guidance and education in diversity and inclusion, in order to appropriately deal with the use of racially-charged derogatory language.
In those meetings, scenarios that had students using racial slurs or micro-aggressions were explained, and committee members proceeded to ask coaches how they would respond. Members also asked coaches to explain what diversity means and how the athletics department could achieve diversity.
The group also met with Dr. Daisy Purdy and Dr. Nick Creary from the Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion to discuss ways in which MTAH can help the Office in its work.
MTAH plans to continue meeting with coaches and people in leadership roles to talk about the need to recognize and address negative or harmful interactions from the perspective of student athletes. To extend its outreach, the group is using Instagram (@MoreThanAHound) and creating short podcasts about how to create more organic conversations and consider solutions to social problems.
Meetings are held every week on an alternating schedule: Mondays (4:00 pm to 5:30 pm) and Tuesdays (8:00 pm to 9:30 pm), and every Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. Members and other participants will be notified ahead of time when there is a meeting. Due to COVID, meetings take place both in-person and on Zoom. In-person meetings are held in the Johnston 102 classroom.