When planning events and programs, it is important to be mindful of the differences of the people in the community. Individuals striving to create, and maintain, inclusive communities must ask the following question:
Below, you will find general questions to assist your community-building efforts:
Have you considered gender bias and gender-neutral language in your programming?
- Did you assume that only men in your community will be interested in participating in intramural football?
- Did you assume that only women will be interested in doing a crafts project?
Western society assumes that males are supposed to act one way and females another. Do not do the same.
Have you considered religious backgrounds, rituals, and traditions in your programming?
- If you have food at your event, will students of diverse religious traditions be restricted from eating it (i.e. Jewish/Islamic traditions, etc.)?
- Will you have food at an event when certain students are fasting due to religious commitments and beliefs?
- In the month of December, will you have a Christmas party, while not acknowledging the other religious celebrations during the month?
The U.S, along with its practices and traditions, has been heavily influenced with Christianity. Be aware of how these beliefs have been engrained in your actions and ways of thinking, especially around beliefs of other people.
Have you considered diverse racial and/or ethnic populations in your programming?
- Will your event attract people of different races and/or ethnic groups?
- Will your event culturally affirm, or demean, people of diverse racial and/or ethnic groups?
- Does your advertisement indicate, whether in picture or words, that this event will be appreciated by people of different races or ethnic groups?
Do not program as if the people in attendance will be of one particular race or ethnic group.
Have you considered the needs of students with disabilities in your programming?
- Is the activity location accessible by wheelchair?
- If you are having a speaker, will there be an American Sign Language interpreter?
- If you are passing out handouts, are fonts large enough for individuals with vision impairments?
Do not assume that all students are (temporarily) able-bodied.
Have you considered the economic limitations faced by some students in your programming?
- Does it cost money to attend all activities planned?
- Are scholarships available for students who cannot afford to attend the planned event?
Do not assume that all students can afford to attend your program.
Have you considered the heterosexual bias and diverse sexual orientations of students in your programming?
- Does your advertising and dialogue before and at the program assume that all participants are heterosexual? For example, at a Valentine’s Day dance, have you said that same-sex couples will be welcomed?
Do not assume that all students are straight.