The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s College of Business is offering a space dedicated to furthering diversity and inclusivity.
The college’s Diversity and Inclusion Gathering Space — nicknamed DIGS — will host a grand opening at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 1 in Hawks Hall (west welcome center area and in Room 102). The event is free and open to the public. An RSVP is required.
DIGS will serve as a hub for conversation, inclusive programs and gatherings to help Huskers feel they belong in the Nebraska Business community. Ordered after the soft launch last year, new furniture arrives for DIGS this fall while programming continues to evolve based on feedback and ideas from students.
“We believe in the power of every person. We embrace diversity in all forms seen and unseen, and work toward ensuring that excellence is inclusive,” said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean. “DIGS and, more importantly, what happens inside the space helps us live by our guiding principle Be Inclusive, and is one of our strategic initiatives to better develop inclusive business leaders the world needs.”
Early adopters of the space include students who served as pilot members of the Inclusive Business Leaders, a first-year scholarship program that supports underrepresented students’ academic, social and career goals to cultivate a more inclusive environment. During a project in the pilot, senior marketing major Ambi Anuh-Ndumu pitched to name the space. Out of many options from the group, a favorite emerged and received approval from Farrell.
“We were honored to name the space so that the space’s purpose rooted in inclusive excellence is presented in a more approachable way,” said Anuh-Ndumu. “By calling it DIGS for short, we’re saying to students it’s yours to come hang out. It’s your space to build connections, have conversations and decompress after classes.”
Harrison Lloyd, an international business, economics and accounting major from Pflugerville, Texas, is passionate about building inclusive spaces on campus after not initially feeling included at the College of Business.
“Early on, there seemed to be a lack of representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in the college,” he said. “I questioned my place in business and wondered if people would take me seriously in a business setting. I joined efforts to form the Pride in Business student organization last year, and in the process, I felt relief. Having representation and opportunities to find community in inclusive spaces allows students to focus on their academics and hopefully lessens the doubts of whether or not they belong.”
He, along with other student leaders involved in diversity and inclusion-related student organizations, plan to use the space to host meetings and other events. Lloyd, who now serves as president of Pride in Business and vice president of the Business International Student Association, hopes other students will use DIGS as a springboard to build community.
“By investing in this space and its inclusive efforts, the College of Business shows it’s walking the walk,” Lloyd said. “My advice to other Huskers looking to make an impact is to show up and be inclusive. Building the sense of belonging for yourself and others is an active process. Introduce yourself to your classmates, make others feel comfortable and be welcoming to all. Not all impacts have to be large-scale to be meaningful.”
In addition to strengthening the community, the space provides an inviting place for students to go for help and student resources. Anuh-Ndumu sees this as one of the space’s biggest benefits for students.
“Often students in minority groups feel ostracized when attending predominantly white institutions,” she said. “I want to provide these students with a sense of belonging and show them that any struggles they may have do not need to be faced alone. There are resources and people at the College of Business always ready to help.”
Anuh-Ndumu, Lloyd and Farrell will join Marco Barker, the university’s vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, and Rik Barrera, the college’s associate dean of student services, inclusion and chief operating officer, in sharing brief remarks during the grand opening ceremony. The event will conclude with a ribbon cutting and an open house with refreshments.