By Lacey Bowman, Chi Delta (U of Colorado), International Vice President of Finance
One of things I am most passionate about is the opportunity, through AOII, members have to develop skills that they will carry with them in their personal and professional lives. AOII provides the opportunity for us to learn about ourselves and others in environments that foster education and growth. Providing equal access to these opportunities and removing barriers for members to achieve their goals is how we strive to be an inclusive organization through our Ends.
When thinking about how our Ends hold our organization accountable for inclusivity, one may point directly to our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion End and think that it’s spelled out right there! But inclusion is a continuous practice, woven through all five of our Ends.
What are some ways we foster an inclusive environment through leadership? We can listen to others, and not just those that agree with us. Leadership is as much listening to others as it is setting direction for the group. Champion the ideas of others and give credit when it is due. Admit when you make a mistake. By recognizing areas that we can incorporating these practices in our AOII membership, we can create a space where we appreciate and utilize members’ talents. We can take these behaviors and apply them to the other aspects of our lives, where we may lead fellow students, employees, or volunteers.
Inspire Ambition! Ambition, while one of the Ends, is at the core of AOII’s brand. Thinking of ambition, I sometimes picture young children when their parents tell them that they can be anything when they grow up. What if we did that for each of our members? Encouraging each one of them that they can be Chapter President or VP of Operations or any role they desire and helping to remove any barriers they encounter working towards that goal.
Sense of Belonging is often the End AOII members reference when asked why they remain involved and connected to the Fraternity. In creating that sense of belonging, we, as an organization and individuals, foster a space to be authentic and accepted. In its simplest form, inclusion is the practice of being accepted and welcomed. Sense of belonging isn’t one sided – in order to feel a sense of belonging, we must also create a sense of belonging for others and provide them the acceptance and welcoming to bring their whole self.
Finally, our Service End provides and encourages members to draw upon their own backgrounds and interests to provide meaningful service. This End is broad, as our members have a variety of interests, and we encourage them to use their voice and actions towards causes that are important to them.
Each one of our Ends identifies benefits for all members of AOIIs. By fostering an inclusive organization, all our members’ voices can be heard and impacts can be felt. Our members can then take what they have learned and achieved through AOII and bring it to the larger community.