MSU Extension awarded Platinum DEI badge
This top award recognizes work done in the space of diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the 2019-2020 academic year.
In recognition of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension’s strong commitment to valuing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Office of DEI recently awarded the organization the Platinum DEI Badge.
“We are honored to have received this award,” said MSU Extension director Quentin Tyler. “The Platinum DEI Badge affirms our collective commitment to making MSU Extension a welcoming place for all, and the breadth of efforts we have put forth in pursuit of this goal.”
A multitude of efforts contributed to MSU Extension meeting the criteria for a Platinum Badge, the highest level. A crucial part of the organization’s work is delivering education and programming to communities throughout the state. To that end, MSU Extension was recognized for its efforts meeting diverse communities where they are, including:
- Making programming accessible to more people through translation efforts to American Sign Language, Spanish, and Arabic, and marketing events in a variety of diverse places, such as Spanish periodicals
- Working with bishops in Amish communities
- Providing scholarships to attend educational events for those with financial need
- Developing digital educational events to reach underserved audiences
- Launching the Michigan 4-H LGBTQIA+ Alliance, a state level group for LGBTQIA+ youth and their allies ages 15-19 to come together in fun, positive and supportive ways
- Developing community gardens to enhance food security, particularly among SNAP benefit recipients
- Outstanding ongoing work in tribal communities, through efforts such as the Michigan Inter-Tribal Land Grant Extension System
MSU Extension also undertook many internal efforts in pursuit of diversity, equity and inclusion goals — such as regular organization-wide listening sessions and affinity groups to discuss race/ethnicity, facilitated by leaders such as DEI specialist Dionardo Pizana, and the creation of resources like the organization’s dedication statements and the Guide for Inclusion of Individuals of All Gender Identities, Gender Expressions, Sexual Orientation and Sexes.
“Not only do we have a duty to ensure that we reflect and respect the communities we work in, we also have a duty to look inward to make sure we are living our values as an organization every day,” said Tyler.