UO to celebrate diversity planning progress at networking event

The University of Oregon Division for Equity and Inclusion will host the First Friday Communities of Color Network event on campus in May, using the opportunity to celebrate the university’s recent progress to advance diversity, equity and inclusion planning.

The event is scheduled for Friday, May 5, 5–6:30 p.m. at the UO Ford Alumni Center. It is free and open to the public.

First Friday events are organized to create an informal space to relax, network, foster friendship and meet new people of color and allies in the local area. Events are also a place where community people come together to celebrate successes.

At the May UO-sponsored event, President Michael Schill, Provost Scott Coltrane and Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Yvette Alex-Assensoh will join UO and community members to honor and celebrate the university units that have completed their draft diversity action plans.

Alex-Assensoh said she welcomes the chance to host this month’s Community of Color Network event.

“First Friday events are a great way to connect our university community with the many different organizations and individuals across Lane County that we work with and that support us,” she said. “It provides people of color and our allies a chance to get together in an easy-going social atmosphere to support and enjoy each other’s company.”

Alex-Assensoh is particularly glad that the timing of the event will allow the UO an opportunity to celebrate a milestone in the university’s diversity planning with community members at the First Friday event because so much of the UO’s work involves community partners.

“People on our campus have worked diligently and innovatively to create individual diversity action plans reflective of their units and aligned with the goals of the UO,” she said. “We are proud to get to this point in our process. With this celebration, we now look forward to our next steps to collaborate across campus and beyond, and to begin to work on implementation of the plans.”

The Communities of Color Network was started close to a decade ago to bring Lane County people of color and their allies together for support. The Lane County Equity and Community Consortium subsequently adopted the event and now sponsors it monthly.

Members of the consortium include the UO, city of Eugene, Springfield school district, Lane Community College, city of Springfield, Eugene Water and Electric Board, Lane Council of Governments, Lane County, Lane Transit District, Bethel School District, Lane Education Service District and Eugene School District.

—By tova stabin, Equity and Inclusion