Maverick Diversity Institute holds training on inclusivity

The Maverick Diversity Institute held a community roundtable training led by Zeke Sorenson Monday on the topic of inclusivity.

At the start of the training Sorenson asked participants to define inclusivity and then had a representative from each table write their definition on a whiteboard. Sorenson then asked members of the audience to give examples of what inclusivity involved.

Safety, trust and curiosity were some examples that participants gave as necessary to create an inclusive environment.

The purpose of doing these exercises, according to Sorenson, was to show both the complexity of defining inclusivity as well as the possible difficulties with creating an inclusive environment.

“Inclusion is a culture, not an action; it’s not just one or two things,” said Sorenson.

During the training, Sorenson argued for both the overall importance of diversity within an organization as well as the need for leadership in organizations to reflect the diversity within the organization.

“If you have an organization that has a diverse population, it’s important for them to see themselves represented in leadership. That’s going to build trust and that’s going to build more of a camaraderie versus if they look at leadership and it’s all one gender, all one race, that makes it really hard for groups and other populations to trust decision making, especially if those decisions continue to impact others in negative or detrimental ways,” said Sorenson.

One point Sorenson made was that companies that were more diverse, especially if they had more diversity in their leadership, were more likely to excel compared to companies with less diversity.

“Companies, if you have diverse representation, especially in executive or decision making bodies, that company is gonna outperform other organizations that do not have diverse representation,” said Sorenson.

Rachel Maccabee, interim director of the Violence Awareness and Response Program, said events like this one help build community.

“I think that there’s a lot of us on campus that want to learn about these topics or are passionate about these topics and coming together and sitting at tables together and sharing information with others around campus is why I come because it helps me find my allies and accomplices and folks on campus,” Maccabee said.

The Maverick Diversity Institute offered four such training sessions during spring semester. Previous sessions addressed topics such as defining equity, understanding multiculturalism, as well as empathy and anti-racism.

According to the Maverick Diversity Institute, faculty and staff who participate in four of their activities will receive a LinkedIn badge, while students who participate in four activities receive both a LinkedIn badge and a sweatshirt.

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