UD Takes Steps to Increase Diversity and Climate Initiatives

Carolyn Kroupa
News Staff Writer

Cover photo courtesy of Sean Newhouse

UD is working toward a more diverse, inclusive and sustainable campus with the recent formation of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Task Force and the UD Climate Action, Resilience, and Environment Sustainability (CARES) Council.

President Eric Spina established the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Task Force in 2017 to evaluate campus culture and the effectiveness of existing diversity efforts. The task force released the results of its AIM4 survey in April 2019, which showed more needs to be done to create an inclusive campus for everyone.

The task force put together a strategic framework to implement diversity, equity and inclusion, which is outlined in the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Task Force: Final Report.

The final report contains three elements:

  • A recommendation for a comprehensive strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion
  • A design for the new standing University Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which is set to begin its work in January 2020
  • A set of definitions of core terms that will inform institutional efforts to shape and drive strategies to achieve goals and objectives related to diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the University

See also – UD Experiences Five Bias-Related Incidents In 11 Months

Spina released a statement on Sept. 30 that read, “a strategic plan website will be available in Jan. 2020 in conjunction with the launch of the University Council for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

The overall goal of UD’s diversity efforts is to link the values of diversity, equity and inclusion to Catholic Marianist values to better prepare students “to learn, lead and serve in a rapidly changing, diverse and challenging global community.”

As for climate change, Spina signed a Resilience Commitment with Second Nature, a nonprofit that works to make sustainability a priority at higher education institutions on Oct. 1.

This commitment furthers the efforts of former university president Daniel Curran who signed the Carbon Commitment in 2013.

UD is the second higher education institution and the first university in Ohio to adopt both commitments.

A new, university-wide council called the UD Climate Action, Resilience, and Environment Sustainability (CARES) Council has been established to ensure implementation of climate action planning.

Additionally, UD ranked as a top 20 Sierra Club “cool school” for the second year in a row.

UD is “one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the nation,” according to The Princeton Review Guide to 399 Green Colleges. The university also earned perfect, or near perfect, marks for diversity and affordability and sustainability coordination and planning, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

An in-depth look into UD’s sustainability initiatives can be found in the STARS report (The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System).

Spina has made it part of his mission to show that sustainability and diversity are more than just buzz words, and that there is concrete action to improve sustainability and diversity at UD.

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