An affinity group is a group of people who share interests, issues, and a common bond or background, and offer support for each other. Typically members are individuals from groups historically and/or currently under- represented in the institution. Common synonyms include: resource group, network group, professional network, special emphasis group. Rationale comes from an acknowledgement that “one size” does not fit “all”. Affinity groups form by employee request and organizing effort and may reflect:
• Groups designated by descent: e.g., African American or Black; Latinos/as or Hispanic; Asian American; Native American; people of mixed racial/ethnic ancestry.
• Groups designated by other identities: e.g., International (i.e., born and holding citizenship outside of the US); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT); veterans; and first generation, people living with disabilities, etc.
Your affinity group will be championed by the Office of Diversity administration with solid, unqualified backing that includes financial support, organizational resources, and a commitment to stay the course.
The value of Affinity Groups to the ISU community is numerous:
• Enhance communication between the University and all employees.
• Help build a favorable reputation for the University within diverse communities.
• Make a difference in diversity recruitment and retention efforts.
• Provide referrals and be featured in testimonials and on diversity and career web sites.
• Enhance marketing and outreach initiatives and ISU’s external communication (to everyone from prospective students and families to residents of the Wabash Valley and state legislators in Indianapolis).
• Serve as diversity ambassadors by initiating branded events and networking opportunities.
• Mentor and improve career development programs for all.
• Provide opportunity for authenticity.
• Contradict isolation and counteract marginalization.
• Advance our strategic plan goals regarding climate and faculty diversity.
• Facilitate people connecting!
Affinity groups are NOT:
Affinity groups can be outcome-based. To assist in:
• Recruitment - growing ISU’s visibility and presence in under-represented and under-reached communities
• Promotion and lateral moves
• Facilitate job satisfaction
• Provide feedback to administration
• Provide mutual support
What is the process to start an Affinity Group?
1. Contact the Office of Diversity with your interest in starting an Affinity Group or joining an already established affinity group.
2. Send a request to join the affinity group to the lead person listed on the Office of Diversity website.
3. For a new group, develop clear expectations for membership.
4. To register a newly formed affinity group, please complete the Affinity Group Request.
5. Develop clear direction and expectations of leadership including a process for rotating leadership (i.e., leadership appointed for first year, but subsequently selected by group from group).
6. Tackle real issues that are central to ISU’s goals and objectives.
7. Develop priorities that are short, medium, and long-term.