Celebrating Our Differences, Connecting Through Our Sameness
What do you see when you look around your office? Your campus? Your community? Depending on who you are and where you are, you may see people who look, act and speak very similar to yourself, or you may see people who you perceive to be very different from you. But every single person you see has a story — a set of beliefs, life experiences, values, struggles, victories — that make him or her a truly unique individual. While some people you may be able to identify with and relate to easily and organically, it may take a little more effort and understanding to get to know others. And that’s OK — as long as we’re all trying.
Rooted in this belief and the imperative to advance diversity and inclusion efforts in our higher ed institutions is CUPA-HR’s new Creating Inclusive Communities project, in which 24 CUPA-HR members share their own stories — who they are, what they believe, what’s important to them and what has shaped their lives and their worldview. Creating Inclusive Communities is a celebration of the experiences and perspectives that make higher ed HR professionals unique. It’s a resource for initiating conversations on campus about diversity and inclusion. And it’s a call to action, urging higher ed leaders to strive to create more diverse, inclusive campus communities. You can read the stories, watch the videos and use the facilitator guides to initiate discussions on campus.
How much better would our workplaces, our campuses, our communities be if we simply took the time to listen — to really listen — to the stories of those around us? Perhaps we’d find we’re more alike than we thought we were, or perhaps we’d discover differences that would give us pause and help us to think about things in a new and different way. Only through sharing our stories and creating opportunities for dialogue around both our differences and our similarities will we succeed in creating inclusive campus communities.