In 2021, NIRSA partnered with 122 Consulting to embark on a climate assessment initiative with the aim of gathering data about the ways members were experiencing the Association through a lens of justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (JDEI). Over the fall and winter, a climate assessment—grounded in 122’s Sustained Impact Model that includes self (self-awareness, individual accountability), spheres (interpersonal dynamics, relationships), and systems (embedded culture, policies, and practices)—was conducted by 122 Consulting with oversight and support from NIRSA’s EDI Climate Study Steering Committee. Crucially, this work was supported by NIRSA Foundation donors.
Data for the climate study was gathered by surveying members and nonmembers, facilitating focus groups, and receiving input from the Steering Committee. Findings from those efforts are presented and discussed in a report that is now available to NIRSA members.
Explore the report’s key points
In addition to the full report, an executive summary has been prepared by NIRSA to highlight the key findings and provide readers with an overview of recommendations for future work. This executive summary is publicly available to any individual who is interested in learning more about NIRSA’s Climate Study.
Register for the “insights” presentation and conversation
Members are invited to join the Co-Chairs of the Climate Study Implementation Team—At-Large Director on the NIRSA Board Victoria Lopez-Herrera, 2021-2022 NIRSA President Cara Lucia, and NIRSA Executive Director Pam Watts—to continue the conversation around key findings and recommendations from the Climate Study report, live on July 13 at 1:00pm Eastern, 10:00am Pacific; the live web event will be recorded and made available to members on-demand.
Why is NIRSA engaged in this work?
A decade of definitions, statements, and educational strategies to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion on campuses across the continent have not driven necessary changes to NIRSA’s own systems that have perpetuated unequal outcomes and have been a source of hurt for many. Racial injustice and systemic barriers within the Association have been exposed; staff and volunteer leaders understand that the pain is real. We accept responsibility for addressing systemic barriers, policies, and practices within the Association.
We will pursue more sharing and understanding about the history of our Association and how it has influenced policies, culture and other factors that have gotten us to where we are today. We must acknowledge the truth and re-examine the Association. We must explicitly point out past hurts related to racial injustice within the Association and the very real inequities regarding race and all intersections of identity. Doing so is imperative to the health and wellbeing of this organization and the profession it supports.
What comes next?
We invite members to join us by seeking out opportunities to engage in upcoming work. We invite you to volunteer roles that will partner with the Board, HQ staff, and various Association leadership groups as content providers, reviewers, and activators. On campus, we invite members to embrace their power and influence to affect systems, spheres, and do the personal work to listen, learn, grow, and hold ourselves accountable.
Along the way, we are committed to access, transparency, accountability, and critical hope. We believe that each of us must embody this commitment through self-reflection and engagement. We invite everyone to exhibit critical hope (hope with action), by taking up the most difficult challenges, spending time with sensitive subjects, and raising daring questions.
We invite you to be uncomfortable, optimistically impatient, learning from imperfection, focusing on progress, and sustaining hope by pointing to evidence that our efforts are making a difference.
Thank you to all who contributed
The past twenty-four months have come with many twists and turns. We appreciate the many members who reached out, courageously shared stories, struggles, and ways NIRSA could do better. We want to thank members who participated in the focus groups and survey and acknowledge the recreation professionals who are invested in this work within the Association and on their campuses. We applaud those who are engaging in action toward positive change on campuses and in our shared organization.
A special thank you to the Climate Study Steering Committee for their dedication over the past year and the NIRSA Board for leaning into this work. We appreciate the financial support for the Study from the NIRSA Foundation and its generous donors to the mission advancement fund.