For nearly two years, Together We Are, the Equity Office’s blog, has been fostering conversations within the Queen’s community on equity, diversity and inclusion.
As a welcome development, the impact of the monthly columns has had a greater reach than initially expected says Erin Clow, Equity Advisor for the Equity and Human Rights Office.
“The whole idea behind the blog is to showcase voices of Queen’s community members that we might not always hear from,” she says. “A really positive outcome has been that the blog has provided a platform for those voices to share their stories.”
One reason for the growth of Together We Are is that for the 2016-17 academic year the blog has featured contributions from Queen’s alumni – students, staff and faculty – as a way of honouring the 175th anniversary of Queen’s. As a result the blog has allowed for the expression of a broad range of experiences and ideas while at the same time tapping into the momentum of the 175th anniversary.
“One of the underlying goals of the blog is raising awareness on the diversity of the Queen’s community. We may all have different experiences and come from different racial, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, but we are part of Queen’s,” says Dr. Clow. “The bloggers have been chosen to reflect the diversity of our community and it has been interesting to see them be creative and explore different forms of writing and communication. I think that’s one of the strengths of the blog –that every month we are exposed to a different experience and a different way of expressing that perspective.”
Feedback has been positive, Dr. Clow says and along with the increasing reach and the fostering of a sense of an inclusive community, Together We Are has also seen a greater interest in participation.
“There’s this community of bloggers that we are building but we are also creating this larger community and that to me is what we always hoped it would do,” Dr. Clow says. “Fostering connections, exposing people to a diversity of ideas, ways of thinking and perspectives is always a good thing. Looking forward we want to keep building this sense of community, that we are all part of the Queen’s community and these are our voices. This is part of what being an inclusive community means – having an interest in and being accepting of everyone’s experience.”
For more information and to read the blogs, visit the Together We Are website.