The problems and demands faced by our profession, our campuses, our facilities organizations, and APPA are complex, tangled, and challenging. We will not solve them without new approaches and robust, diverse teams. APPA’s initiative on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a recognition of those complexities. We know that without taking intentional actions to ensure that APPA is an organization where EVERYONE feels welcome, we will not succeed. We need all voices represented in our profession now more than ever!
Recently some states and institutions have criticized DEI, ordering any such efforts abolished and ended. As Chair and Vice Chair of APPA’s Board of Directors, we believe such directives stem from a lack of understanding. APPA’s DEI approaches are not developed because we are “woke.” Nor are they exercises to favor some while excluding others, or a “zero sum game” that pushes some out. Rather, we seek to pull everyone in, understanding that we only succeed together.
We are extremely excited about what APPA has undertaken and is planning! APPA is approaching DEI from a full, inclusive, and broad perspective. Our initiative includes the traditional definition of diversity, but just as important we’re encouraging a broad diversity of thought, experiences, and approaches. We also seek a diversity of institutions and a diversity of individuals from all areas and levels of the educational facilities management field.
APPA’s DEI initiative is not a “check the box” exercise or “one-off actions.” By leaning into DEI, we will become more aware of the barriers to participation that exist for some of our members that have at times prevented some voices from being heard, including cultural norms, beliefs, and practices. Through the act of becoming more aware, we can then take proactive steps to increase full participation and involvement of the entire APPA membership, which in turn will make our association stronger. We know it will take continued hard but valuable work to move from an initiative to standard practice. APPA is committed to this work.
We can’t wait to see where this work will take our association, and we urge you to join us on this important and exciting journey!
I have seen firsthand the success such diverse teams have had when more narrow approaches floundered. I’ve seen huge contributions made by individuals who only considered joining facilities because APPA’s DEI initiative made them feel welcome, who only stayed in facilities because these initiatives made them feel they BELONGED.
David Irvin, APPA Board Chair
As a woman in educational facilities management, I have at times experienced unintentional bias that has made it hard for me to be a full participant. But I’ve also experienced times when my perspective has been actively welcomed and encouraged. Many of these positive experiences have been within APPA and are a big part of why APPA remains my professional association of choice.
Margaret Tennessen, APPA Board Vice Chair
Article by Board/Task Force (July/August issue of Facilities Manager)