Inclusion & Diversity
UniSport Australia’s (UniSport’s) vision of Active Students: Lifelong Success encompasses a commitment to provide a safe, fair, and inclusive environment for all student-athletes and participants, regardless of ethnicity, location, ability, religious or political beliefs, cultural background, sexuality or gender.
Underpinning all that we do, our inclusion and diversity strategies reflect our status as an inclusive organisation and our commitment to the sector. We recognise that sport is a powerful tool to promote inclusion and acceptance of a diverse university sporting community. We are committed to ensuring we celebrate and embrace the diversity of our nation through the way our organisation operates, the programs and events we deliver and the partnerships we build.
We acknowledge that the path to becoming a fully inclusive organisation is a journey that requires the support and input from our members, participants and partners and we openly invite all stakeholders to join us on this journey.
At UniSport, we are dedicated to promoting gender inclusion in sport. We believe that everyone, regardless of their gender, should have equal opportunities, support, and recognition in all aspects of sport participation.
We strive to create an environment that values and respects individuals of all genders, fostering inclusivity, fairness, and empowerment.
Through inclusion and diversity guidelines, policies, language, education and advocacy, we aim to break down gender barriers and create a level playing field where student athletes, coaches, officials can thrive and achieve their full potential.
UniSport understands that gender diversity refers to a diverse range of gender expressions and identities. UniSport therefore provides a number of opportunities for students to compete at events in a manner which best reflects their gender identity. Open category events for sports such as Baseball, Lawn Bowls, Sailing and Tenpin Bowling are included in our pinnacle annual event The UniSport Nationals.
We continue to be guided by State and National bodies to deliver safe, open and inclusive competitions for our student-athletes and we ensure uniform guidelines evolve to be inclusive of everyone.
UniSport is committed to maintaining gender equity among our board, committees and working groups. This is to ensure a balanced perspective on topics key to UniSport and the university sporting sector at large.
UniSport appreciates the diversity of sex, gender, identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and intersex status within our student populations and embraces the LGBTQIA+ community. We believe that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, deserves a safe, welcoming, and inclusive sporting environment.
We champion diversity, respect, equality, and support for LGBTQIA+ student athletes, coaches, officials, and supporters and actively work to eliminate discrimination and prejudice.
Through education, such as Pride Awareness Training sessions for UniSport staff, members, and students; policy implementation; and opportunities and support created through sport, we aim to create a space where LGBTQIA+ student athletes, coaches, officials, and supporters can participate, excel, and be celebrated for who they are.
UniSport Australia is proud to be a member of Pride in Sport.
UniSport Pride Rounds/Days are supported to convey the key message of allyship and commitment to providing a safe space for all LGBTQIA+ participants.
UniSport has recently launched the UniSport Australia You Can Play! Toolkit which is a resource to assist university sporting clubs to become more inclusive and able to say to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, ‘You Can Play’! The toolkit provides the opportunity for university clubs to assess how inclusive it currently is to members of the LGBTQIA+ community and access information, templates, and resources to become more inclusive.
Together, we will build a sports community that embraces and uplifts all individuals, regardless of their LGBTQIA+ identities.
UniSport Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of all lands throughout Australia. UniSport recognises the deep feelings of attachment and connection to the land, sea, and community and we pay our respects to the elders past, present, and emerging. UniSport is inspired by the strength and endurance of the world’s oldest living culture and pay homage to their sporting traditions as we share our very own.
Through partnerships, cultural awareness, and targeted initiatives, we work towards breaking down barriers and providing equal opportunities for Indigenous individuals to participate, lead, and excel in sport.
The Indigenous Nationals event is a week-long multisport competition for indigenous student-athletes. In 2023, the 27th Indigenous Nationals presented by bp was held from 26-30 June at Monash University in Clayton, VIC (Naarm).
The event opens with a Welcome to Country and brings together student-athletes from more than 30 universities from across Australia in a week-long celebration of sport, Indigenous culture, and heritage. Teams compete in four sports where ultimately one university team will be crowned the champion of the event.
The annual bp scholarship program awards two $5,000 scholarships to the most promising Indigenous student-athletes to support both their academic and athletic endeavours. Scholarship recipients will also be offered mentoring and professional development opportunities from bp.
Each year an Indigenous student athlete is recognised for their outstanding sporting achievement through the Most Outstanding Sporting Achievement by an Indigenous Student-Athlete at the prestigious UniSport Sports Awards event.
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)
Australian universities boast both domestic and international students from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. UniSport believes by offering an environment for interpersonal engagement and friendly competition, the overall student experience will be greatly enhanced.
By embracing individuals from different cultural backgrounds and language groups, we can harness a wide range of perspectives, talents, and skills that contribute to the overall growth and success of our sporting endeavours.
UniSport incorporates cultural elements in sporting ceremonies and is actively working to seek out, consider and create opportunities for individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to provide a student perspective on committees, participate in university intervarsity sport exchanges, sporting activities and competitions, where both familiar and new sports are offered through UniSport Nationals events.
We support our member universities by celebrating and highlighting success stories of athletes, multicultural events on campus and university and intervarsity opportunities for international students.
UniSport implements inclusive policies and practices promoting equal opportunities, fairness, and representation for individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds at all levels of our sports organisation. This includes providing education and training for staff and volunteers, equitable access to leadership positions and decision-making processes.
We continue to collaborate with community organisations, cultural groups, and other sports bodies to share best practices, learn from each other, participate in initiatives or campaigns aimed at promoting inclusion in sport and collectively work toward creating a more inclusive sporting landscape.
UniSport firmly believe in the importance of disability inclusion in sport as a means to promote equality, diversity, and the full participation of individuals. By breaking down barriers and implementing inclusive practices, we can create a sporting environment that empowers and celebrates the abilities of all athletes.
UniSport Australia has recently signed an MOU with Disability Sports Australia which enables collaboration and the sharing of resources to inform and promote inclusion and access to opportunities in sport for student athletes with a disability.
Competition opportunities are made available through annual UniSport events such as the UniSport Nationals and National Championships for athletes with a disability. We ensure fair classification systems are used for sports such as Athletics, Swimming and Rowing; and careful consideration is given to access sport facilities, venues, and equipment which are designed and modified to accommodate individuals with disabilities. Wheelchair-accessible ramps, accessible seating areas, and adaptive sports equipment tailored to specific needs is prioritised to ensure maximum opportunity.
UniSport policies and anti-discrimination measures are in place to eliminate barriers to participation and support all individuals.
Recently, through the 2023 UniSport Conference, we provided members and staff with disability awareness training and education through the Successfully Engaging Students with a Disability in Sport on Campus presentation which highlighted inclusive language, considerations and communication strategies to effectively support athletes with disabilities.
The UniSport Sports Awards recognise excellence in sport by a student athlete with a disability through the Most Outstanding Performance by a Student-Athlete with a Disability Award.
At UniSport, we believe in the importance of including the student voice in all that we do. We are committed to creating an environment where students can actively contribute to decision-making processes. We value perspectives, ideas, feedback, and aim to foster meaningful student engagement in all aspects of the UniSport and university sport landscape.
Currently university students are represented on various committees such as the 2023 UniSport Student Advisory Committee, Sport Operations Committee and Sport Awards Selection Committee.
UniSport provides leadership training programs, mentorship opportunities, and workshops to enhance students' skills through attendance at the 2023 Annual UniSport Conference, work integrated learning, university placements and volunteering at UniSport events. Furthermore, university students gain exposure to domestic and international (such as FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy or FISU Forum) university student representation opportunities.
We foster open communication channels and platforms for student feedback, such as online forums and digital surveys which aim to understand student preferences which will inform UniSport programs and events that align with student interests and ensure the student perspective is always considered.
By prioritising the student voice inclusion in sport, we create an empowering environment where students are valued as active participants, leading to a more inclusive and student-centred sporting community.