As the winter season & break approaches, it’s time for you to get some updates on what DEI has been working on this semester. These emails are meant to hold the committee & chair accountable for our semesterly efforts to a more equitable club. They are also meant to inform you of important changes that have occurred, such as policy changes. Please read on to see what we’ve been up to.
We had two collaborative events with orgs on grounds! The first being a lovely camping trip with a mix of members from the Queer Student Union & ODC, and the second being our Humpback hike and discussion that happened with undocUVA and Third Year Council. We met and worked with some lovely people because of these trips, and want to encourage y’all to check them out if you’re interested.
We also want to shout out the Monacan Museum tour that Sustainability & Service committee coordinated!!
We figured it’d be good to establish a clear goal of what the DEI committee is trying to accomplish in ODC. This document aims to make our mission clear, and is quoted below for future reference:
“Outdoors club at UVA recognizes that outdoor recreation has historically excluded certain groups (including, but not limited to, women, BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities), and that there are many systems in place that continue to perpetuate this exclusion. We want to acknowledge the oppression that these people are subjected to, while also recognizing that this is not the limit, or majority, of their identity.
With the implementation of the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Chair and Committee, Outdoors club is committed to and accountable for our efforts towards the following goals:
- Providing and increasing access to the outdoors for everyone by fostering a socially conscious culture and allocating outdoor resources equitably.
- Spreading awareness about the extent to which the outdoors has been colonized and made unsafe for various communities.
- Amplifying the perspectives and voices of historically excluded and underrepresented populations in the outdoors. This includes facilitating collaborations with organizations on grounds and building relationships with them.
- Providing safe spaces where members can raise concerns, ideas, questions, etc. regarding equity in the club and the outdoors in general, and have an open and ongoing discussion about these issues.
- Holding club members accountable when their behavior is inappropriate and/or makes other members feel uncomfortable or unsafe. This includes creating more resources to describe expected member behavior, and reforming our disciplinary process as needed.
The DEI committee will maintain transparency about our efforts by posting semesterly DEI announcements that describe what the committee has been working on and what our goals are moving forward.”
A link to the official document is here.
Policy & Reporting~~
Wooo… our policies are under constant updating! We made some changes to the Harassment & Discrimination Policy and the Sexual Misconduct Policy this semester. The big updates include website privacy (specifically how we expect personal information like phone numbers and email addresses to be used), stalking (including misusing access to the club to get ahold of targeted people), and the reporting process (which is generally more thorough than previously). We recommend everyone familiarize yourselves with these policies to both ensure you are acting within our expectations of club members, and that you have resources if you ever feel that someone’s behavior should be reported.
If you ever feel that you have been subjected to behavior that violates either of these policies, please report it here. We want to be able to support you as best as we can. The only person who will see the report is the DEI Chair (myself), and will remain that way unless asked otherwise by the reporter. If the reporting form looks daunting in any way, you can also reach out to me directly via text: (540) 353-1254 or email: email@example.com. (if you ever need to talk during break I most likely won’t have reception, so consider emailing me & I will hopefully get back to you quickly!!)
The description of affinity trips has been updated. We’re stoked to see affinity trips go up, and want to ensure that they are successful in their goal to create more welcoming and inclusive spaces within the club. The updated document is here, and the description is as follows:
“Affinity trips are considered to be any trip that is specifically for a group that is marginalized in the outdoors, or outdoors club (ex. women, the LGBTQ+ community, BIPOC, people with disabilities, etc). This can be any type of trip that you would post as a regular outdoors club trip, including hiking, camping, mountain biking, paddling, etc. Each affinity trip, like service trips, counts as 2 trips—which means if you lead two affinity trips, or one affinity trip and two regular trips, you can get your dues reimbursed.
Guidelines for posting affinity trips:
- You must identify with the group that you are creating the affinity trip for.
- Language explaining the purpose of the trip should be both descriptive and inclusive. Additionally, the group the trip is targeted towards should be made clear in the title.
- “This trip is meant to create a comfortable and welcoming space for queer members of the outdoors club. Please only sign up if you identify as queer” is more inclusive than “Do not sign up for this trip if you are cishet.”
- Less common acronyms should be spelled out so it is clear who the trip is targeted towards (ex. “WTF” stands for Women/Trans/Femme, and is meant to center less historically represented identities in the outdoors, specifically women and gender-expansive presentation)
- Trips targeted towards identities that are less visible, such as the LGBTQ+ community, MUST have a note that one can contact the trip leader directly to sign up. This is to ensure that club members can join the trip without their name being publicly displayed on the website in the case that they are uncomfortable with other club members seeing that information.
- Example: “Signing up for this trip through the website means that other club members can see that you are on this trip/waitlist. If you want to sign up but are uncomfortable with this, please send me a text instead!”
If you have any questions regarding posting an affinity trip, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the DEI Chair or members of the committee. We understand that it can be difficult or confusing to navigate the best wording.”
The Trip Leader Manual is currently being edited and will hopefully be accessible to you in its most updated form by the beginning of next semester. This is meant to offer more clarity for the current expectations of trip leaders, such as the affinity trip expectations as described above. With this will come a general club code of conduct, and specific conduct guidelines & responsibilities for trip leaders. We recommend that you review these documents once they are released.
Also currently under reform is the officer election/selection process. We have been working on a document that will more transparently convey what we look for in officer candidates. An updated application will be released with this hopefully by/during next semester as well.
If you ever have any comments or concerns about our club, or DEI specifically, feel free to send us anonymous feedback here.
If you’re interested in joining the DEI committee, or Sustainability & Service, let us know by filling out this form or contacting us directly! Our information is available on the form.
We know our website is quirky and that club information can be difficult to navigate. Most of our pertinent resources can be found in the Outdoors Club linktree, which you can find by clicking this link, or on the ODC instagram. Please refer to this announcement and its links to find the information again, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Thanks for reading this and for being a part of the outdoors club! You are what makes this club so special and amazing, and we want to do everything we can to support you. I hope your exams/final projects wrap up well and that you soon embark on a very restorative break. See you soon—hopefully on some trails, rocks, or logs surrounding a cozy bonfire next semester.
Peace, love, & dirt,
Melu & the officers