Slater to spearhead athletic diversity initiative


Gunter Kleist

Kyle Gagnon

Brian Slater is the newest member of the NVU Johnson sports administration team. Taking on the newly created role of Assistant Athletic Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion / Sports Information, Slater will begin his full time position in December preparing for the 2022 spring semester.
This role will have Slater busy creating and implementing strategies that will strengthen NVU in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion primarily in the athletic department but with the goal of enhancing inclusion and comfort for students across the NVU campus.
Speaking about the new role Slater said, “The biggest thing is just making sure that there’s a comfortable place for the athletes, but more for everyone in the entire school to feel comfortable in their own skin. Basically, creating activities that bring everyone together. Some educational pieces, some historical pieces, just some pieces that I’m going to tie in with athletics to do as best as I can to bring the student community together.”
In late November, Slater was making his drive from South Carolina to Vermont to start at NVU in December. This will be Slater’s second visit to Vermont, the first one being for the interview for this position. “I think the first objective is to get settled in and get the lay of the land. See how the community operates,” he said. “I think that’s going to be the first objective … to make sure that all of our athletes are comfortable.”
Slater has experience as a track athlete who competed for Keystone College as a student and ran professionally for the US Virgin Islands track team for close to a decade now. He also has experience as an assistant coach and interim head coach at Union College in Kentucky.
“I understand the transition when leaving home, whether it’s two hours away, or fifteen hours away,” Slater said, discussing how he can relate to the many out of state athletes at NVU. “I understand that gap … I want to help students enjoy the challenges of being away from home as much as possible.”
NVU has attracted a handful of new administrators and coaches in the athletic department this year. These new additions have cited a variety of reasons for coming to Johnson, ranging from the rural scenery, to the opportunity for personal and professional growth, to just being the right job at the right time.
Looking ahead to his first administrative role, Slater said, “I think the biggest attraction is the large space for opportunity and growth here. I’ve seen all perspectives: from being an athlete, to a coach, to now as an administrator, knowing what coaches and athletes go through. Especially as an out of state person coming all the way out to northern Vermont, I think that my experience will help me to bring a positive impact to the campus community.”
Along with his role as assistant athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion, Slater will also be the assistant athletic director for sports information. This position will oversee more of the day-to-day operations revolving around the facilitation of home athletic events.
“That role is more of a logistical one,” he said. “From doing all the graphics for the upcoming sporting events, to sending the rosters and information to schools for athletic events. Making sure all the coaches have everything they need for all our home games … Just being that middle person between getting the game started and what all the coaches and athletes need prior to game time to be able to compete comfortably.”
Slater is aiming to be fully settled in by the time the spring semester begins at NVU. He doesn’t have any big events or changes in mind just yet but hopes that after getting situated in his new environment, he can begin to make his presence felt on campus.
“My biggest thing is to make sure I’m showing that I have an open-door policy with the students,” he said. “I want to be able to get the students’ input, because who better to hear from than those who are going through it?”