IT Diversity Committee honored by President Crawford

by Elizabeth Jenike, IT Services

At Miami University, strategic initiatives to improve diversity and inclusion efforts across campus have been underway, and are even part of President Crawford’s new Strategic Plan. And IT Services is on the way to being a champion of those efforts.

A little bit of background . . .

In the autumn of 2018, President Greg Crawford established his strategic vision for Miami University and called on the community surrounding our institution to help him make that vision a reality. Part of his plan includes an emphasis on upholding diversity and inclusion as guiding principles:

Miami University must establish and sustain the values of Love and Honor by welcoming faculty, students, and staff of diverse backgrounds and ensuring their holistic development and success.

He has tasked a Diversity and Inclusion Sub-Committee with answering the question of how “Miami cultivate[s] and sustain[s] a learning and working environment that provides fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all of its members.” In answering this question, the subcommittee will seek to identify points where we can improve the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce and student body.

Fast forward to One Miami weekend, an annual tradition celebrating Miami excellence and coming together as one campus. One Miami Weekend is a way for President Crawford and his wife, Renate, to “show their gratitude and deep appreciation for employees’ commitment, dedication, and exceptional service.” The men’s and women’s basketball teams played a double header, and two hockey games bookended the two-day event. During the games, the Crawfords presented groups with awards for excellence in serving the Miami community.

And that’s where we come into the story . . .

Setting an example: IT lights the way

The IT Services Diversity Committee attended the women’s basketball game against Kent State to receive recognition for their work to advance diversity and inclusion at Miami. President Crawford presented a certificate to the team to thank them for their stewardship in this endeavor. It was a true honor!

IT Services is one of the most diverse divisions on campus, and we have had a robust culture of inclusivity. We celebrate diversity in IT, and it shows in the various celebrations of culture we observe throughout the year—for instance, 2017’s Diwali celebration, or the film festival put on every year by the IT Diversity Committee.

A recent example of how the IT Diversity Committee is leading the way in terms of inclusion is the recent Green Zone Training sponsored by the committee and attended by 40 members of the IT team. Emma Wott—senior theatre and religion double major, veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and president of the Student Veterans Association—gave a presentation about how faculty and staff can best support student vets. The presentation was modeled after Safe Zone Training, given to employees about issues faced by students in the LGBTQ+ community.

Emma Wott giving the green zone training

Emma, as a Marine Corps veteran and nontraditional Miami student, is uniquely positioned to give her perspective on the experience of student veterans. She shared the importance of giving student veterans space—and understanding that their college experience is not the same as that of a “traditional” undergraduate student. They may be older than their fellow students, have already started families of their own, experience post-traumatic stress disorder—all or a combination of these. No two experiences are the same.

IT employees came away with a positive outlook on how to support student veterans in the future—and a better idea of how their veteran friends, co-workers, and students interact with the world.

“Attending made me aware that veterans are on campus, but yet they are not the traditional student,” said budget specialist Gail Stout. “It informed me that they have a space on campus in Wells Hall. All the resources and contact info they shared was valuable and nice to have on hand.”

You are now Green Zone certified

Pat Powers, IT contract and vendor management coordinator and an Army veteran himself, was surprised at how accurately the training portrayed veterans, and he expressed that Emma’s words were all honest and spoken from the heart—and that the training is helpful for both veterans and non-veterans alike.

“The Green Zone Training reminded me that all students seek inclusion and to be accepted for who they are as people,” he said. “We all have very different backgrounds, experiences, and through a common idea of respect, we are better as a team. We all want to be accepted.”

Forging ahead

It’s a good thing to remember—that everyone wants to be accepted. The IT Diversity Committee is committed to continuing the practice of acceptance and doing well by the people we work with and for.

Plaque and medal given to IT Diversity Committee for excellence in promoting diversity and inclusion

For more information about events and our strategic mission, visit the IT Diversity Committee website:

IT Diversity Committee