UNC varsity athletes say, ‘It gets better’
More than 30 student athletes from 10 different varsity sports teams echoed a simple but powerful phrase in a video released Tuesday.
“It gets better.”
The UNC Athletic Department sponsored the YouTube video, which is part of the national “It Gets Better” campaign that promotes anti-bullying and suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers.
Associate Athletic Communications Director Dave Lohse, who proposed producing the video, said it provides comfort to kids who are bullied.
“They can watch a video where Tar Heel athletes are saying to hang in there,” he said.
“That speaks volumes about what our school is about and what our student athletes are doing to step up.”
Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Development Cricket Lane said UNC is one of few athletic programs in the nation to sponsor an “It Gets Better” video.
“UNC is such a big name — they look to us as a leader in setting the standard,” junior field hockey player Meghan Lyons said.
Lohse introduced the idea to the student athlete advisory council and Carolina Leadership Academy in October.
Student athlete volunteers collaborated with script writer Devin Fratarcangeli and members of the athletic department to produce the video.
“The repetitiveness of ‘It gets better’ is pretty powerful coming from so many people,” Lyons said.
Volunteers were in charge of selecting the locations where the video was filmed.
Junior fencer Jenna Rodrigues, chose the arboretum to shoot her part of the video because she feels that the message should resonate across the community beyond athletics.
“I didn’t think the message should just carry over in an athletic stage,” Rodriguez said.
The video has received more than 2,800 views on YouTube and is also featured on outsports.com, a website for gay sports fans and athletes.
Freshman swimmer John Paul Gaylor, who participated in the video, said he was surprised the video had received so many views.
“It had already made that big of an impact,” he said.
But Gaylor said he will promote more publicity through social media. He said the athletic department is working to get the video posted on Tarheelblue.com.
Lane said the video has received positive support and that she anticipates making another video in the future.
“I think a person would be hard pressed for viewing something like this negatively,” Lohse said.
Lohse said the video did not have any relation to the Amendment One debates and was not intended to be political.
“It’s a very simple message. It’s not about forcing beliefs. It’s about valuing human life,” he said.
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