Clemson Student-Athlete Development creates and fosters growth among all student-athletes, and encourages them to learn to use their voice and celebrate their differences. The group creates a number of safe spaces and programs for student-athletes to further find commonality.
Tigers Unite is a student-athlete initiative that includes five diverse affinity groups: The LGBTQ+ community (Athlete Ally), male-identifying student-athletes, international student-athletes, student-athletes of color and Women Empowering (WE).
WE is led by Clemson Track and Field student-athletes Harleigh White and Leah Disher. The organization’s goal is to build a space where female athletes can come together to create a community of support and empowerment. Clemson’s athletic department includes nearly 300 female student-athletes and more than 100 female staff.
“WE is a community for female athletes and staff to congregate to build necessary relationships through meaningful conversation and events,” said White. “WE is special as it allows for our small female community within athletics to support each other by empowering each other. Empowered women empower women.”
Recently, the group held one of its first events of the year, an ice cream social. The event included a build-your-own ice cream bar, sticker station, an ice breaker game, and small group discussions.
WE’s mission continuously highlights the importance of supporting women and sought out a local female-owned business to partner. The female athletes were able to pick their flavor of ice cream and favorite toppings. The sticker station had options that included fun designs and inspirational quotes. After enjoying their ice cream, everyone played an ice breaker game that allowed each individual to open up and get to know each other. The night was finished off with small groups, where everyone shared their stories and got to know each other.
“The Ice Cream social was our first event of the year for all women and staff to come together for the first time since 2019,” said Disher. “I think it was a great turn out and everyone had a lot of fun!”
“Tigers Unite is student-athlete driven. We have 10 student-athlete leaders across all affinity groups that help build community and plan events. Leah and Harleigh really did all the work for this Women Empowering event! They led the hour-long social, making everyone feel welcomed and included. We were intentional in inviting staff as well, to come together as women, not just student-athletes or just staff, but as one collective group.”
The night allowed Clemson female athletes to build tighter bonds with their teammates while creating new relationships with females in other sports. WE is continuously planning more events to keep a close-knit community, including yoga and self-defense classes.
Clemson Athletics continues to support initiatives that help grow and celebrate the many perspectives of the athletics community.