CSU program finds ways to create more inclusive community

Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick

On Wednesday members of Colorado State University Extension had a meeting to discuss the practical implementation of CSU’s Principles of Community.

The principles are aimed at creating a diverse, inclusive and collaborative environment.

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Extension is a division of the office engagement at CSU that serves all of Colorado, with an office in every county.  Their services include providing education information, and programming aimed at health, increasing livelihood and enhancing well being.

Since the Principles of Community had been released, and even since its conception, figuring out how to implement the principles into CSU culture has been tricky.

Vice President for Diversity Mary Ontiveros told Source that the principles need to be actively incorporated into everyday life.

“It needs to be a living, breathing document, with the ideas in it part of how we conduct ourselves every day,” Ontiveros said . “It can’t just go into a binder and sit on the shelf.”

Robert Franklin, an Extension agent through 4-H Youth Development, facilitated the conversation as co-lead of the Diversity Catalyst team. He asked Extension staff how they are using the principles in their workplaces.

Jacki Paone, the Jefferson County director, discussed how at county level, the office is being pushed towards cost recovery, which means fees are going up and up. She talked about the potential advantage of bringing the Principles of Community with her to budget meetings.

“I will remind everyone that this is what Extension is about, we can practice cost recovery, but that’s not the ultimate goal,” Paone said.

She planned to use the set of principles to remind her coworkers what Extension is really working towards.

“So if you don’t mind me saying Jacki, I think that’s pretty badass,” Franklin said in response to Paone’s comment.

What Franklin was referencing is Colorado College’s active bystander campaign. BADASS is an acronym for Being Aware, Deciding to Act, and Saying Something. He referenced the campaign earlier in the meeting.

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The meeting was particularly relevant on this Wednesday because later that day, ASCSU passed the controversial Diversity Bill by one vote. Both the implementation of the Principles of Diversity and the Diversity Bill will hopefully function to see a positive change in CSU.

Franklin facilitated the meeting as a response to the principles. Now that the posters are up in the offices, Franklin said they need to create a dialogue about how to correctly and effectively incorporate them.

“I am hoping that faculty and administration will start to have similar conversations,” Franklin said.

Collegian Reporter Tatiana Talesnick-Parafiniuk can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @tatianasophiapt.