Basketball player Evan Battey and volleyball player Alexia Kuehl are the first recipients of a first-of-its kind scholarship that honors University of Colorado athletes who use their platforms to promote inclusion for members of the LGBT+ community.
“It’s called the Colorado Athletics Visibility Award,” award creator Nicholas Turco told ABC affiliate KMGH in Denver. “We’re really excited about it and really proud of it because it’s the first scholarship across the country at any athletic department that celebrates LGBT+ inclusion in sports and through the power of sports.”
Turco, a professional runner who began working toward endowing an LGBT+ inclusion project while a student at Colorado, said each year two student-athletes will receive $20,000 for projects that promote LGBT+ inclusion. He said he hopes other universities are inspired to implement inclusive scholarships of their own.
“I didn’t know that it was the first of its kind and finding out just made it more special,” said Kuehl of the CU scholarship. She told KMGH that she wanted to get involved with the scholarship program because she knows what it means to feel like you don’t belong. “I didn’t feel like I had much inclusion growing up so I just kind of want to help other kids feel included,” Kuehl said.
For her project, Kuehl is focusing on addressing bullying. “I’m creating a short video and the hope with this video is to play it in schools, kind of to bring awareness to the community,” she said.