Employee Affinity Groups
Employee Affinity Groups (EAGs) are employee-led and facilitated groups formed around interests, backgrounds, identities, and common bonds. Through participation in EAGs, Vanderbilt staff and faculty help foster a positive work environment at the University by actively contributing to its mission, values, and efforts specific to diversity, inclusion, and campus engagement.
EAGs are one example of a variety of Vanderbilt-supported activities in which staff and faculty are encouraged to participate/engage in an effort to cultivate and foster an inclusive community. Engagement in these kinds of activities may provide long-term benefits for the University, professional and personal development for the participants, and contribute to a greater sense of belonging to the Vanderbilt University community, as well as employees’ ability to bring their authentic selves to work.
- The primary goal of EAGs is to promote diversity, openness, understanding, and inclusiveness.
- EAGs create a welcoming place for staff and faculty who share common interests to meet and support one another’s personal and professional perspectives with respect to particular affinity groups.
- All EAGs are open to all employees.
- Employee participation in EAGs is completely voluntary.
- EAGs must adhere to Vanderbilt University’s policies and procedures.
EAGs help to create an inclusive workplace at Vanderbilt by:
- Serving as a vehicle for leveraging the unique and common perspectives, functions, and approaches to work that exist throughout the University community
- Contributing to an inclusive workplace by helping to attract and retain diverse candidates
- Providing an informal welcome to new employees, as well as networking and mentoring opportunities for their members
- Creating an open and welcoming space for staff who share common interests/concerns to meet and support one another
- Providing a resource to Vanderbilt leadership regarding employee interests, needs, and policies
All participation in EAGs, both leadership and general events, is completely voluntary. EAG activities are considered Vanderbilt University Sponsored Activities within Vanderbilt’s Hours of Work Policy. Staff approved to attend EAG activities during their normal work day will be paid. Staff attending EAG activities outside of their normal work day will not be compensated.
Current EAGs on Campus
Association of Vanderbilt Black Faculty & Staff (AVBFS)
- The Association of Vanderbilt Black Faculty and Staff (AVBFS) was created in July 2020 under the umbrella of the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. The AVBFS has a three-fold mission: 1) to support and uplift Black faculty and staff, 2) to build and maintain a sense of community among Black faculty and staff, and 3) to advocate for the recruitment, retention, and advancement of Black faculty and staff at Vanderbilt. Membership is open to all faculty and staff in the Vanderbilt community who support the mission of AVBFS. The group hosts monthly general body meetings as well as other periodic programs to foster community, promote social and professional networking, offer professional development, and offer mentoring support for Black students, faculty, and staff. For more information or to join, please sign up here or contact Rosevelt Noble.
- The AAPI group is a space for individuals of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to gather to address and share issues and concerns that impact the group, such as racism, immigration, mental health, and the like. It is a space to have their voices heard and to make the invisible visible while engaging in both social programming and community activism. For more information or to join, contact Laura Mariko Cheifetz or Justine Chen.
Disabilities and Chronic Health Conditions
- This group is a place for employees who identify as having visible or invisible disabilities, chronic mental or physical health conditions, and their allies. The group gathers to address and discuss issues that impact the group, such as discrimination, misconceptions, mental health, navigating workplace interactions, and other relevant topics. The group aims to provide a safe and brave space for members to be heard while engaging in sharing of resources, social programming, and community activism through regular meetings. For more information or to join, please sign up here or contact Rachel Schles and Isabelle Crist.
- This group seeks to foster a sense of belonging at Vanderbilt and build strong cross-institutional relationships among staff within their first five years at Vanderbilt and/or in higher education. This group provides professional development and leadership opportunities, learning resources, social events, and ways to contribute to and explore the greater Nashville community. Our members are eager to share their experiences and dreams with each other and are excited to help fellow staff meet their goals and build relationships. For more information, please contact Jolie Grace Wareham.
- Golden Dores welcomes employees who are age 50 years or older, as well as allies. The group hosts meetings covering topics such as Medicare/Social Security workshops, investing, eldercare, retirement and the like. They also host fun social and service-oriented events. For more information or to join, contact Valerie Lorusso or Karen Swoopes.
- This group is a place for employees who identify as LGBTQIA+ and their allies. The LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group will host regular meetings aimed at providing resources for LGBTQIA+ employees and allies, including social networking, meetups, guest speakers, support navigating workplace interactions and more. For more information or to join, contact Linzie Treadway or Derek Nido.
- The mission of the International Employee Affinity Group is to offer a safe space and serve as a resource for international faculty and staff to enable them to transition to Vanderbilt and to Nashville at large and serve as an ongoing supportive community. The IEAG creates professional and social opportunities for international faculty and staff to provide a welcoming and nurturing environment in which they can thrive. For more information or to join, contact Jennifer Rauch or Mazalit Haim.
- The Latinx group serves to support faculty, staff and post-docs that identify as Latina, Latino, Latinx, Latine, and/or Hispanic. This group strives to provide resources as well as fellowship for those who have an ethnic and cultural connection to communities within Latin America. Engagement will hope to include academic-based discussions, social events, and activities for members as well as those who are allies to the Latinx community. For more information or to join, contact Maria Elena Ornelas, Claudia Paz, Amanda Martinez-Lincoln or Sara Burd.
Military and Veterans
- The Military and Veterans EAG is estblished to enrich the experience of Vanderbilt’s Veteran population by supporting the unique needs of those who have serve and their families. It helps expand Veteran networks through professional connections, strengthen comradeship through social interactions, foster a continuation of selfless service through community engagements, Teach, Coach & Mentor. For more information or to join, contact Xavier Purdy or Lydell Francis.
- The Single Parents group is a space to share ideas and resources, encourage, and grow community for those who are single and raising their children alone. The Single Parents have been meeting since March 2019 after connecting with the Women’s Center’s Parenting Group. They currently meet virtually on the third Thursday of the month. For more information or to join, contact Amanda King.
Requirements to Form a New EAG
- A designated leader or leaders who commit to an initial term of at least two years, as well as participation in the EAG Leadership Council, which will meet at least quarterly with HR and EDI leadership to identify opportunities, challenges, and ways to enhance the Vanderbilt community
- Minimum membership of 10 individuals upon launch
- A mission statement, which must align with central Vanderbilt’s mission and ongoing commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all
- An executive sponsor who is willing to meet with EAG leadership regularly to advocate and self-regulate. While required to formally launch an EAG, it is not necessary to have the sponsor identified at the time of application.
- Completed application to form new EAG
Have a great idea for a new group or a question about the Employee Affinity Group program at Vanderbilt? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.