There are a number of opportunities for community members both at CMU and in Mount Pleasant to share in creating a diverse and inclusive environment on campus, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. As we understand the benefits of pluralism and embrace diversity we will find, as President Jimmy Carter once said, “We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.”
Following are some ways you can help create a welcoming environment at CMU:
- Go out of your way to initiate contact with people different from yourself. The other feels that he or she must often initiate contact, and that is a burden.
- Model considerate social behavior by sitting next to people you do not know at events. Initiate conversations with new people.
- Attend CMU-sponsored workshops andevents that discuss ways of interacting with people from diverse backgrounds.
- Recognize that you do not know everything about everyone’s background and be willing to listen to information that is provided.
- Ask people what makes them feel the way they do and then listen to what they have to say. The feelings that others have about us are never wrong, but we may not understand them.
- Encourage people to reflect on why they said something that is inappropriate, especially when people are truly unaware that what they are saying might be offensive.
- Encourage your friends and acquaintances to get involved in diversity programs and promote their awareness of the importance of diversity.
- Use the décor of your office to communicate messages of inclusiveness to anyone who visits your area.
- Arrange your office so that it’s friendly to people with disabilities. If you are unsure of the guidelines for accessibility, contact Student Disability Services.
- Use language to describe people and their relationships that is equally applicable to everyone. For example, everyone may have at some point in time a partner, but not everyone will have a spouse.
- Say “Happy Holidays” if you are unsure which holiday (if any) someone celebrates. If you do know, feel free to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah”. Click here for a complete list of religious holidays.
- Remember, we are responsible not only for the intent but also for the impact of our comments. None of us is perfect in navigating an increasingly diverse workplace, and we may find it necessary to apologize for statements we have made, even if they were made with the best of intentions or in an effort to use humor.
- Let your coworkers and friends know you are willing to discuss with them any comments that they find disturbing.