Recent alumna sets out to change the game

Laura Morrison on the Social Impact Showcase stage

Laura Morrison has long been passionate about preventing sexual assault and challenging rape culture. Over the last couple of years, the Recreation and Leisure Studies student (now alumna), set out to raise awareness and explore ways to prevent sexual violence in athletic organizations.

As an upper-year student, Laura Morrison moved into St. Paul’s GreenHouse, looking to gain traction for her ideas around social innovation. After many months of research, idea testing and planning, Laura introduced GameChanger Sports – an organization devoted to combatting hypermasculinity in sports.

Society puts pressures on men that are rarely brought to light and talked about. We tell growing boys that to be real men they have to be strong, athletic, highly sexual, tough, dominant and that the only emotion they can show is anger. Young boys are trapped in this box of ‘acceptable’ masculinity, and if they try to go outside the box, they’re often bullied for it.

Laura presented her business plan at the Social Impact Showcase and secured one of the GreenHouse’s coveted social innovation grants to help launch her venture. The pressures of toxic masculinity – and its negative and sometimes devastating consequences – is what sparked the idea behind the initiative. Morrison was keen to contribute to a cultural shift in the sporting community:

This culture is often referred to as “rape culture”, or a social attitude that normalizes sexual violence against women. GameChanger aims to challenge these destructive social norms through the development and implementation of gender equality and non-violence sport and recreation programs.

If you’re an entrepreneurial student hoping to make a difference, Laura encourages you to join the GreenHouse incubator:

GreenHouse is the place to go if you’re interested in social or environmental businesses. While in GreenHouse, I learned valuable business skills, gained a large professional network and had constant access to coaching whenever I needed it.

This summer, Morrison will use her grant money to begin developing and piloting the first GameChanger programs within local sports teams. If you want to learn more about GameChanger Sports, feel free to email Laura.

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