As part of the association’s long-standing commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and to advance our strategic priority to strive for inclusive excellence with an anti-racism and equity lens, NIRSA leaders have committed to explore and ensure equitable practices within the association. We hear the call for increased focus on structural inequity. We acknowledge the impact of ignored history and recognize the need to celebrate the contributions of all who have helped build and shape the association since inception. And we share a desire to evolve NIRSA into a better and stronger association with inclusion, equity, and justice as prominent and core principles of NIRSA.

To support this endeavor, NIRSA has retained 122 Consulting Group to conduct a climate study that assesses NIRSA’s culture, climate, and structures and to determine areas in which the association supports inclusion and areas where there are barriers preventing equity for all. Our goal is to collect feedback and gain insight into practices and behaviors that invite all individuals to feel, through their NIRSA affiliation, that they belong, are welcome, and have a robust network of colleagues with whom they can explore professional interests. We want to better understand how people experience the association; this includes asking individuals to share how they engage with association leaders, volunteer for leadership positions, access programs and resources, perceive transparency and accountability, and experience the overall value of membership.

NIRSA’s work with 122 Consulting is being guided by a nine-member steering committee. The NIRSA Foundation is funding the Climate Study and we deeply appreciate the generosity of donors to the NIRSA Foundation’s mission advancement fund.

The climate study will be impactful through active and thoughtful participation from a broad base of individuals. We strongly encourage members and invited individuals to contribute their voices to this important work because it will shape NIRSA for years to come. In September, there will be two avenues for participation: individuals can share their perspective by completing the climate survey and by volunteering to share more context through focus group meetings.

The 122 Consulting Climate Survey for NIRSA will launch next month. On September 7, 2021, members and other individuals will receive an email invitation with the survey link; please set aside time during the week to complete it.

Focus groups will meet virtually in small groups, based around shared identities or experiences. Focus groups will be limited in size to facilitate meaningful dialogue, so interested people are encouraged to register early. Schedule information and a sign-up form are available at the bottom of this email. Virtual meeting registration and facilitation will be managed by 122 Consulting.

122 Consulting will create a climate study report that includes analysis of stakeholder feedback and evidenced-based and impact-oriented recommendations for action and implementation. The NIRSA Board of Directors, in collaboration with leaders and stakeholders in NIRSA, is committed to thoughtful consideration and implementation of the recommendations.

We aspire to foster a climate that supports professionals from underrepresented populations and enhances cultural competencies of our organization’s members. By building an inclusive culture and modeling best practices in NIRSA, recreation professionals will inspire, influence, and implement action concurrently on their campuses.

Our priority to advance inclusive excellence with an anti-racism and equity lens is continuous and will take intentional dedication of the association headquarters staff, volunteer leadership, and engaged members to make progress. We thank participants in advance for their contributions as we gain insight into past hurts, identify systemic inequities, and find opportunities for action to continue our commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Volunteer to serve on a focus group

Below you will find the identity and affiliation groups who will be interviewed by 122 Consulting Group and the target date for virtual engagements:

  • LGBTQI Focus Group| September 1, 2021
  • Black Women Focus Group | September 7, 2021
  • Black Men Focus Group| September 7, 2021
  • Female Focus Group | September 8, 2021
  • Students and Graduate Assistants | September 8, 2021
  • AAPI (Asian) Focus Group| September 13, 2021
  • Latin@/X Focus Group | September 13, 2021
  • Campus Recreation Professionals in the USA | September 15, 2021
  • Campus Recreation Professionals in Canada | September 15, 2021
  • Campus Recreation Professionals at HBCUs | September 28, 2021

If you identify with one or more of these groups, please sign-up to participate in focus group conversations.

Volunteer to be on a focus group

Associate Professor at Elon University | NIRSA Profile

Cara Lucia, Ph.D is currently an associate professor at Elon University. She serves on the NIRSA Board of Directors.

Director at Austin Peay State University | NIRSA Profile

David Davenport is currently the Director at Austin Peay State University and the NIRSA  President.

Pam Watts is Executive Director of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon. Pam is a Certified Association Executive and she can be reached at Pam.Watts@nirsa.org