At Franklin College, if you can kick, you can kick.
If you can swing, you can swing.
If you can shoot, you can shoot.
And if you can play, you can play.
Those are just a few lines from a recent project completed by the college’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
The committee, which is made up of students from a variety of athletic teams and headed by Assistant Athletic Director Mary Johnston, first learned about the national “You Can Play” project after it gained traction in the DIII National Collegiate Athletic Association conference.
The purpose of the video is to say the college’s student-athletes value one another, respecting each other’s race, gender, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.
The motto of the initiative is simply: “If you can play, you can play.”
“Across our social landscape, not only athletics, these issues are more at the forefront,” Johnston said. “It’s good for education and spreading the message that we’re inclusive. If you can be an athlete, and you’re successful in that area, we want you to be able to compete.”
Last year, the committee took on the “It’s On Us” pledge project, which was about committing to keeping women and men safe from sexual assault by avoiding being a bystander to the problem.
“Every year, we rotate educational topics,” Johnston said. “But it’s important that it’s not a one-year thing. We are constantly thinking about how we can educate.”
Sophomore Jackson Barnes was approached by the committee to produce and write the script for the video because of his job in the communications office.
Barnes, who is on the football team, said Franklin College, especially since President Thomas Minar arrived in 2015, has done a good job of caring about diversity and inclusion on campus.
“That’s why I take so much pride in doing the video,” he said. “I firmly believe it’s a big issue.”
The video features male and female students from a variety of backgrounds and athletic teams.
Sophomore golfer Sami Roberts appears in the video a few times and said she thinks it’s important that one of the largest campus organizations, the athletic department, is endorsing this sort of message.
“This message is just something that shouldn’t even have to be produced. It should already be accepted in our society. Unfortunately, it’s not,” Roberts said. “Our society paints a picture of people who are disabled or different in another way as outcasts. The importance throughout our nation is basically saying that: It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, if you want to do this, you should be able to do it.”
Watch the full video at bit.ly/FCyoucanplay.
To learn more about the national initiative, visit www.youcanplayproject. org.