Being more inclusive in the way you communicate can lead to more productive and meaningful conversations on topics that are potentially difficult and uncomfortable. LinkedIn has made courses about this and other topics available for free through its learning platform until August 31.
• Skills for Inclusive Conversations by Mary-Frances Winters
• Communicating about Culturally Sensitive Issues by Daisy Lovelace
• Communicating Across Cultures by Tatiana Kolovou
While many of these courses touch on inclusivity in the workplace, you can apply these same principles to your PTK chapter. We encourage you to look closely at your chapter membership and make sure it reflects the overall diversity at your college.
Here are five ways you can create a more welcoming, inclusive environment for ALL eligible students, courtesy of the Five Star Advisor Plan.
1. Make sure all members are on board to make your chapter a welcoming place for students of all backgrounds. Help members — particularly those in leadership roles — increase their knowledge about the diverse student populations served by your college (this includes all types of diversity such as race/ethnicity, military/veteran status, single parents, etc.). Knowing your audience means your chapter can help ensure the membership messaging and methods are meeting students where they are.
2. Mix it up. Make sure chapter events are accessible to as many individuals as possible. When scheduling new member orientations or information sessions, it’s especially important to have more than one option. While many chapters are meeting virtually now, be sure to record the meetings and then send them out via email, text, social media, and any other messaging sites your college uses.
3. Reach out to all identity groups on campus. Examples may include African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native American, International Students, LGBTQIA, students with disabilities, veterans, etc. Join forces on projects or simply enjoy fellowship. By doing so, it’s much more likely that your organizations will share members.
4. Observe diverse traditions, celebrations, and holidays from other cultures. Make sure to know significant cultural/religious dates of your students so you can be aware of these when scheduling chapter activities. While it may be impossible to avoid all conflicting dates, it is important to acknowledge the awareness of these dates and a student’s unavailability if a chapter event is planned for that date.
5. Contribute to the cultural diversity of the chapter and college. The best way to promote diversity and inclusivity in your chapter is by embracing it and working to build an understanding. When you take time to get to know your fellow members on a personal level, regardless of their culture and background, it helps you all find common ground and deepens your appreciation of differences.