Today: Apr 14, 2024

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Office hosts affinity groups to create community for faculty

Brandon Cortés- News Writer

In the past two weeks, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, DEI, office at the university has been actively hosting affinity groups, providing faculty and staff members with a platform to engage in meaningful discussions about various aspects of their lives. 

Spearheaded by Daisy Torres-Baez, these affinity groups aim to create a space for dialogue and connection among university personnel. 

Torres-Baez, who oversees the organization of these affinity groups, emphasized their importance in fostering a sense of community and belonging among faculty and staff members. She highlighted the significance of providing similar opportunities for faculty and staff to come together and discuss topics relevant to their experiences and identities. 

“These affinity groups serve as a vital avenue for faculty and staff members to engage with one another in a supportive and understanding environment,” Torres-Baez said. “Just as students have their own clubs to explore shared interests and experiences, it’s essential for faculty and staff to have similar avenues for connection.” 

The concept of affinity groups within academic institutions is not new. Historically, these groups have played a pivotal role in fostering inclusivity and addressing issues of diversity within university and other workplace settings; by providing a platform for faculty and staff members to share their perspectives and experiences. 

Affinity groups have convened, covering topics spanning from cultural heritage and identity to work-life balance and mental health. Participants have engaged in candid conversations, sharing personal anecdotes and insights while also exchanging resources and support. 

“The affinity groups offer a space for individuals to explore various aspects of their identities and experiences, whether it’s related to race, gender, sexuality or other dimensions of diversity,” Torres-Baez said.  

The response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing gratitude for the opportunity to connect with colleagues outside of their immediate work environments. Several attendees highlighted the importance of having a dedicated space to discuss topics that are often overlooked or marginalized within traditional professional settings. 

Looking ahead, the DEI office plans to continue hosting affinity groups regularly in the following weeks. Through these initiatives, the university remains committed to promoting a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion that extends beyond rhetoric to meaningful action and engagement. 

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