By DONOVAN HARRELL
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is hosting its first open house for Pitt’s faculty and staff affinity groups, which have been rebranded to Pitt Communities.
Ron Idoko, diversity and multi-cultural programs manager, said the event, scheduled for Sept. 24, is geared toward making current and new employees feel more welcome.
Idoko said the affinity groups were rebranded into Pitt Communities to better promote the original goal of creating safe spaces for faculty and staff to come together under shared identities.
While the name has changed, the core goals remain the same, Idoko said. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion wants Pitt Communities to promote networking opportunities, equity initiatives and a support system, Idoko said.
“And we wanted to generate more awareness, more participation, because it is important for staff and faculty, especially those who might have a shared interest, to feel connected, that they have a community that they can engage with when they get to Pitt or while they’re at Pitt.”
Idoko said this was the first time affinity groups have held an open house, and participants can expect a relaxed environment where they can mingle with group leaders.
Representatives from each of the six communities are expected to attend, Idoko said, and two more affinity groups are in the works — one for Muslims and another for people with disabilities.
Idoko hopes the open house will make it easier for potential participants to reach out to a Pitt Community.
“We recognize that sometimes it can be, not challenging, but for some folks, almost a bit uncomfortable to do the first reach out to a group to say, ‘Hey, I’m interested, can I learn more?’ ” Idoko said. “Some folks are shy or maybe a bit reticent to kind of do that direct outreach.”
This format also allows affinity group leaders to express the benefits of the communities and their objectives, Idoko added.
The Pitt Communities Open House will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 24 in the William Pitt Union assembly room. Participants are encouraged to RSVP by Sept. 23 by using this online form.
Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at email@example.com or 412-383-9905.
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