Doing Good means Doing Better
In our effort to be transparent about our current Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives (DEI) we have compiled a non-exhaustive list of action-steps that we plan to implement throughout the 2020-21 academic year.
The following timeline is a tentative list of action-steps we are committed to upholding that will be implemented over the upcoming school year. Despite facing unprecedented times, we strive for this timeline to serve as a baseline for accountability and commitment to do better as a Greek organization. Though our work will not always be publicized we are committed to actively making this our first priority and this tab will be updated with more information as we navigate and officially devise action-steps, events, workshops, and trainings that advance our chapter’s commitment to DEI.
DEI Initiative Timeline
In September 2019, our chapter participated in a Human Dignity workshop that empowered us to think about showing compassion, seeking understanding, and offering forgiveness. Spearheaded by chapter leaders, Epsilon Xi will actively continue to foster more intentional productive dialogue and intellectual discussion pertaining to current events. This includes, but is not limited to, conversations about racial injustice, mental health, and sexual assault on campus. Through our DG Dialogues, not only will our chapter continue to educate ourselves, but also foster an inclusive and supporting community. In doing so, we hope our efforts will contribute to making the Lafayette community feel safe and included and for our own members to feel seen, valued, and heard in our commitment to do better.
- Establishing Scholarship funding: Beginning May 2020, Epsilon Xi has been working towards establishing a scholarship fund to assist members and new members that are facing financial barriers. The amount and process for the chapter-based financial relief program are still being planned out by our Director of Scholarship and Vice President of Finance. Updates to come soon.
Lafayette Racial Justice Fundraiser: In June 2020, we joined Lafayette Student Government and 23+ campus organizations for the Racial Justice Educational Fundraiser supporting Black Lives Matter NY, Homeless Black Women Trans Fund, and Lehigh Valley POWER Bail Fund. For our specific day of fundraising, we raised awareness about the "Five Faces of Oppression", inspired by Iris Young. The 10-day fundraiser event reached $22,071 all together.
We are proud to endorse Delta Gamma Executive Offices decision to redact the legacy policy, as the former policy used to give preferential treatment to legacies during recruitment. In efforts to hold ourselves accountable for Delta Gamma’s institutional racist past, we acknowledge that the recruitment legacy policy started off as an institutional pathway that was limited to solely white women and was inherently exclusive of BIPOC potential new members. Per Delta Gamma’s legacy policy statement, we stand by the call-to-action to “do more and speak out against what we know creates unequal access and unbalanced opportunity within our sisterhood”.
- As of September 2019, a combination of 18 current and former CMT members participated in safe-zone training. While our ultimate goal is to get all of our chapter safe-zone trained, we have accomplished having over half of our chapter members safe-zone trained by mid July. Learn more about the Safe Zone Program here.
- As of July 11th, Epsilon Xi voted to approve our 2020-21 Bylaws and Standing Rules. Per our newly amended bylaws, Epsilon Xi has officially created a Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) position and committee within its bylaws and standing rules for the following year. Under the oversight of our Director of DEI and Vice President of Social Standards, the DEI committee will foster initiatives that advance our efforts. Moreover, our new bylaws require for our Chapter Management Team (CMT) and Recruitment Team (EVC) to participate in safe-zone and unconscious bias training. As of July 15th, our CMT and EVC are safe-zone trained. Our bylaws will continue to be reviewed as we continue to foster understanding.
- In Fall 2019, we had a pre-recruitment workshop about Microaggressions. Our goal is to build on this prep-week workshop by incorporating two additional recruitment-related trainings on diversity, equity, and inclusion. In order to advance our chapter’s commitment to become more socially aware, the two trainings have the sole purpose of educating us further on implicit bias, inclusive language, and social class equity. These trainings, which have been provided by Delta Gamma Executive Offices, are required for our chapter members prior to Fall 2020 recruitment.
- New Member Period: Led by our VP Member of Education and Director of New Members, the new member period (NMP) will continue to foster a space for the new member class to bond between themselves and older members. In order to foster this bond and align even closer with our chapter values, the NMP will now comprise additional DEI workshops and lessons that will, ultimately, set the tone for inclusivity and awareness by highlighting Delta Gamma's and Fraternity & Sorority Life (FSL) complicit discriminatory past history. These discussion and trainings will follow a hybrid discussion model for new members to engage in both lecture and discussion format as they unpack their positionality as a Delta Gamma. Prior to initiation, all new members will be required to engage in the events aligned by the Member Education team. Ultimately, the course of the new membership education will encompass our goal to educate ourselves further about our past complicit behavior, in order to do better and recognize past and current systemic ills we're fighting to debunk.
- Per our new chapter bylaws, Officer Transition Installation workshops will now comprise DEI workshops for all incoming Chapter Management Team (CMT) and Junior Chapter Management Team officers (JCMT). During action-planning sessions, officers will be encouraged to incorporate a DEI approach to all their initiatives and future projects.
- Anchor Bowl Awareness: We are hosting our annual anchor bowl t-shirt fundraiser to support our philanthropy cause Service for Sight. The DG Foundation currently has five schools for the visually impaired that have been closed down and struggling during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, the Foundation supports: 550-600 scholarships and fellowships for members each year; Anchor Grants for members in their times of trouble, the need for which are expected to increase due to the economic fallout of the pandemic; and interest free student loans.
- In addition to continuing to support Service for Sight, we are also shifting our efforts to fundraising and raising awareness for more social justice causes our members are also passionate about. In June 2020, we voted about what we want our first cause to be and decided to raise funds for homelessness and housing poverty through the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). This initiative also coincides with our DG Foundation Joining Forces philanthropy efforts that supports Veterans, as they are also significantly affected by the housing crisis and homelessness. Learn more about NLIHC here. More updates to come soon about our endeavors.