Type of Work

Research Paper

Publication Date



Historically, college campuses have stood as hotbeds for activism and agents of social change. However, despite the extensive study of college activism, the intersection of activism and college athletics remains a relatively unexplored territory. Deficits currently exist in research for DIII athletics, in particular. To address this gap, this study, by using qualitative interview data, attempts to tackle the question: How do college athletes in a DIII college understand and perceive social justice and activism in relation to athletics? This investigation revolves around four key themes: social justice understanding and identity, team perceptions of social justice, the role of college athletics, and challenges to social justice. Within these themes, I find that while the DIII college athletes in my sample overwhelmingly view the concepts of social justice and activism favorably, they struggle with the practical implications and ramifications of actualizing these beliefs into practice. Various factors such as the framing of social justice, team dynamics, and competing values influence the perception of social justice and activism among DIII student-athletes.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Chenyu Wang