Yes, taking time to formulate a strategy on how you will inform and structure your engagement with students to ensure it is inclusive is a good thing! However, there comes a time when the focus needs to shift from simply being in a state of awareness to making an impact.
Here are three ways that you can move the needle in this vein...
When exploring or showcasing career paths with students, we are aiming to provide a realistic and relatable preview of what it would be like to be part of a company’s workforce or a certain industry. The default tends to be to find a recent grad from target programs - often, a high performer - to be a part of the conversation.
Our opportunity here lies in broadening the scope to ensure that our panels, Career Fair booths, Campus Ambassador Programs and networking events feature voices of experience from a broad spectrum and reflect the diversity of our student population. And, not just when the event has an inclusion focus.
This may already be occurring organically or by happenstance. If so, that’s great! Kick it to the next level by doing so with intention. Modeling what inclusion truly looks and feels like will resonate, benefit and yes, even broaden perspectives of the students and colleagues we work with.
Do so from the beginning. For example:
Partnerships can be a key part of your programming resulting in a step change for equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Whether a student club focused on mental health, the LGBTQ+ community or a cultural identity;
Researchers, speakers or thought leaders in the space
Professionals working in the Centre for Indigenous Students, International Students or Students with Disabilities;
Develop and maintain these relationships. They can be great resources and foster ally-ship to help inform your work and can help get the word out to the communities you are seeking to have as a part of your engagement on campus.
Bonus Final Thoughts and Tips: Actively Listen. Ask Questions. Take action. Even what may seem like the smallest of things can make a big impact!