As a slogan, “We Have Work To Do” evokes images of a campus rolling up its sleeves and getting down to business. That is exactly what the Office of Institutional Diversity intends with its new campaign, which takes a look at where Oregon State University stands on its path to create a more inclusive community.
The campaign aims to break down barriers to success for students, staff and faculty that might prevent them from completing their degrees, finishing their research or advancing in their careers. Keeping students and faculty on a path to success is high on the list.
“The name of the campaign is meant to both allow us to feel really proud of the work we are doing while recognizing we have a long way to go,” said Scott Vignos, director of strategic initiatives for the Office of Institutional Diversity. “Doing equity work requires a consistent, creative process to continue to move it forward.”
The campaign focuses on five areas: “Building equitable learning environments;” “Establishing a sense of belonging;” “Creating coalitions;” ”Transforming our future;” and “Confronting bias.”
Events focused on many issues will be held during the school year, including creating a safe and welcome university climate, building alliances, learning about bias, and ways to intervene in situations where someone is experiencing bias.
While celebrating how far Oregon State has come in advancing diversity and inclusivity, Vignos said the “We Have Work To Do” campaign acknowledges there are gaps between university goals, and the experiences of some students, staff and faculty from underrepresented communities.
“We want all university community members to recognize that they are essential contributors to the work of inclusion and equity,” Vignos said.
“For some, it is a shift to think of their role as really important to creating equity on a college campus. In fact, there are many ways to be engaged with diversity work as students, faculty and staff, no matter what our role is within the university.”
Brandi Douglas, assistant director of outreach in the Office of Institutional Diversity, said a first step is for faculty, staff and students to talk to each other about these topics.
“We are finding that some of our colleagues don’t have these conversations with each other, which then makes sense why they struggle to have them with their students,” she said.
“Small changes can make a big difference,” Vignos said. “Attend events. Start conversations in staff meetings. Set aside a half an hour to talk about a topic. We happen to live in a time when there is news worth talking about in this arena every day. Create communities of conversation.”
The Office of Institutional Diversity offers a wide range of diversity education programs that can offer students and staff a deeper look at how they can create an inclusive community. Programs range from social justice education to search advocate training to community dialogues on related topics. For a list of upcoming events, https://diversity.oregonstate.edu/we-have-work-to-do. For more on diversity education opportunities, see https://diversity.oregonstate.edu/diversity-education.
~ Theresa Hogue