Mike Campbell, workshop assistant at the Center for Creativity, began working at Pitt in September 2016, around the same time the University’s LGBTQIA+ affinity group was launched. He hoped that by joining the group, he could not only make connections on campus, but also help shape how the Pitt LGBTQIA+ faculty and staff community developed.
“For faculty and staff, it can sometimes feel like a challenge to meet our professional and social needs because we’re focused on the needs of students,” Campbell said. “We need to know we are not alone on this campus and that we have a community to help bolster our voice when we see the need for change.”
“Having a forum through work that allows for some of the opportunities to create those professional and social networks for marginalized communities is vital to our well-being,” noted Campbell.
From affinity comes community
The group Campbell joined — now called Pitt Queer Professionals (PQP) — is one of several Pitt Communities at the University. Others have formed for veterans, women, African/Black staff and faculty, Chinese staff and faculty and Hispanic and Latinx communities.
These groups, formerly known as affinity groups, have recently undergone rebranding. Ron Idoko, diversity and multi-cultural programs manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, told the University Times that while what the groups are called has changed, the core goals remain the same: “to promote networking opportunities, equity initiatives and a support system.”
Additionally, Pitt Communities will use group pages on the Pitt Commons platform. Using Pitt Commons’ profiles, calendar and messaging features make it even easier for faculty and staff to make connections, interact and broaden cultural awareness through activities and programming.
This digital reinvention of the communities can make communicating with all group members, coordinating events and managing logistics like planning and elections much easier and more efficient.
“I cannot overemphasize the impact that the Pitt Community Groups can have, and have had, on our campus, in ways large and small,” said Pam Connelly, vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion.
“From community building to identifying best practices, the groups are key partners with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. They are a vital part of our inclusion initiatives, and I can’t wait to watch them continue grow in size and in impact.”
Attend a Pitt Communities open house
Employees interested in learning more about Pitt Communities can attend an open house on Tuesday, Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room. The open house is a way to meet members and leaders from the Pitt Communities in a relaxed and casual setting. Register online.
Read more about Pitt Communities and the open house in University Times.