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Climate Task Force begins work

image of Climate Task Force Co-Chair Doris Houston works with another member of the group.

Climate Task Force Co-Chair Doris Houston works with another member of the group.

The Campus Climate Task Force met in late September to begin the work of suggesting change for Illinois State University.

Task Force members shared reactions to the spring’s Campus Climate Assessment. The assessment suggested several long-term changes to campus, which Task Force Steering Committee Member Dave Bentlin noted is a “starting point” to the conversation. “We are not limited to the assessment’s recommendations,” said Bentlin, adding that previous reports from 2009 and 2011 are also being consulted for additional possible recommendations

While exploring long-term plans, the Task Force also will work to generate a list of short-term goals that could be implemented this semester. Those suggestions will be sent to the Task Force’s sponsoring leadership in late October.

“We know in this budget climate not everything will be feasible, but we want to have a collaborative conversation about what is feasible, and changes we can make now, and down the road,” said Task Force Steering Committee Member Doris Houston.

As a result of the September Task Force conversations, the nationally award-winning newsletter, Identity, will be published twice a month, starting in November. “We know from looking at the assessment that changes do need to be made, but there is also a lack of awareness of programs that already exist on campus,” said Houston.

The online publication, dedicated to highlighting initiatives, programs, and research geared toward underrepresented populations, began in October 2009 under an initiative from then-President Al Bowman. For the past seven years, the publication has been delivered monthly via email to Illinois State faculty and staff. With the new publication schedule, the newsletter will be sent every other week and circulation will be expanded to include students in addition to faculty and staff.

“When reading the Campus Climate Assessment, we realized people are unaware of many of the programs we have,” said Touré Reed, chair of the campus-wide Identity Board, which suggests stories for the publication. “We’re glad the Task Force made the suggestion to bring Identity to a wider audience.” Identity stories can come from anywhere on campus. The publication is put together by Media Relations.

The next Task Force meeting is scheduled for late October.

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