I am: Piper IMpact

Diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the Athletic Department receive a rebrand.

Cathryn Salis, sports editor

Athletic Inclusion Groups have been rebranded as Piper IMpact meetings as of the 2022-23 school year. Four student leaders, with the support of Rachel Pierce, are working to reshape what it means to be a Hamline athlete. 

Pierce is the Coordinator of Athletic Operations and oversees leadership opportunities for student athletes, along with a plethora of other responsibilities. Last year, she collaborated heavily with junior Caleb Lueders of the football team. Towards the second half of the year, he ended up leading the last first-generation athlete meeting.

“One thing that we recognized early on was that there’s a divide between student athletes and students and we’ve questioned why is that when a lot of us are the same,” Lueders said. 


Lueders is working to minimize this divide between athletes and students through making certain supports that are marketed for students accessible to athletes. For example, events that occur during prime practice time for sports often are never attended by in-season athletes. 

“It’s hard for us to make certain meetings whether it’s on weekdays, or we have practice,” Lueders said. 

The IMpact meetings are bi-weekly and are structured around four main affinity groups: BIPoC athletes, first-generation athletes, LGBTQ+ athletes and women in athletics. These sessions aim to educate and create a platform to highlight the unique experiences of these athletes.

Senior Aubrey Chavarria of the swim and dive team is another long-time leader of the initiative. 


“Rachel brought up this idea to me … it was about starting something about how identities impact our time in sports and how our identities come out in sport,” Chavarria said.

Chavarria has a significant relationship with her own identity that allows her to sympathize with and be passionate about the reality of athletics for women of color. 

“In sports we should be able to be our complete, authentic selves,” Chavarria said. “I really get annoyed when people are just like oh, you’re such an athlete, and I’m like, we’re so much more.”

While the meetings are centered around specific people’s experiences, everyone is encouraged to attend. They occur at 7:30 p.m. on every other Thursday and the topic is on a rotating calendar. There are guest speakers every so often and on occasion, Pierce brings her dog. 

“We want to hear your experience, we want you to talk and it’s also just an open space for people who have questions,” Chavarria said.


The IMpact meetings give folks the opportunity to learn about people and experiences they may never have had the chance to learn about before. In a school as diverse and close-knit as Hamline, not engaging in these conversations can leave people disconnected from their peers.

“We can’t force you to learn and we can’t force people to change their viewpoints,” Lueders said. “We want you to recognize other people’s viewpoints, and be able to understand and respect, but also be a cheerleader for them because there’s gonna be a point in time we all need help, we all need a cheerleader.”


“We capitalize the IM in impact and we want to put an emphasis on that you’re a part of the change and you’re a part of the culture of campus, create impact on campus,” junior Caleb Lueders of the football team said.