Washington and Lee Develops an Employee Resource Group Program ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups with the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.
“Our employee resource groups represent a wonderful addition to our university community, bringing together colleagues who share cultural affinities, identities and distinct experiences.”
~ Lena Hill, university provost
Washington and Lee University has announced the development of an employee resource group (ERG) program to affirm and support the diverse perspectives and backgrounds that enhance the university community.
Also known as affinity groups, ERGs are generally voluntary, employee-led groups that carry the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace in line with the mission and values of the institution. These groups are commonly shaped by employees who share an affinity or characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation and gender identity or other connections.
ERGs bring employees together in a safe place where conversations can flow freely and individuals can feel comfortable being themselves. These groups offer interested faculty and staff members the chance to strengthen the university through community building, social activities, professional development and dialogue.
The Provost’s Office and the Office of Human Resources have partnered to expand on already existing groups on campus, providing structure, guidance and funding to support events and programming.
“We are excited to launch the ERG program and to expand the ways in which all W&L employees — regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time, faculty, administration or staff — are able to connect and engage with one another,” said Jodi Williams, executive director of human resources. “We have a good framework for the program and the co-chairs are eager to begin promoting events across campus. We hope employees will actively attend and support the success of the ERGs.”
W&L has identified 11 initial ERGs, which were determined either through current existence or expressed interest during employee focus groups and interviews. All university employees are invited to participate in the voluntary program.
“Our employee resource groups represent a wonderful addition to our university community, bringing together colleagues who share cultural affinities, identities and distinct experiences,” said Lena Hill, university provost. “I hope ERGs help staff and faculty discover new friendships and professional connections, thereby making W&L a more welcoming, inclusive workplace. I am truly grateful to the colleagues who have agreed to serve as co-chairs, and I look forward to the positive impact their leadership has on our community.”
The 11 employee resource groups for the 2022-23 academic year are:
- Alumni: Alumni Engagement Sponsored (by invitation)
- Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander: Janet Ikeda Yuba, Lynny Chin and Shikha Siwal
- Black, African American, and the African Diaspora: Carol Hill and Freda Coleman-Jackson
- Indigenous and Native American Cohort: Victoria P. Ferguson, Kelly Fujiwara and Tom Camden
- International / Dual Citizen: Hunter Swanson and Mohamed Kamara
- Latine / Hispanic: Fiorela Giraldo Prado de Lewis and Heidi Bustos
- Pride at W&L: Jake Reeves and Carole Bailey
- Newcomers: Human Resources Sponsored (Activities are open to benefit eligible employees hired in the last three years by invitation)
- Under-Represented Religious, Cultural, and Spiritual Identities: Isra El-Beshir and Sascha Goluboff
- Veteran: Paul Youngman and Mark Fontenot
- Women: Kristy Crickenberger and Lisa Greer
W&L employees are encouraged to reach out to the group chairs if there is interest in joining a group. If there is further interest in developing a future ERG, please contact Jodi Williams.