A new page on the Illinois State University website aims to provide insights into area cultural resources for those deciding whether to make Bloomington-Normal home.
“In our continuing efforts to recruit people of diverse backgrounds, we want candidates to feel welcomed by the campus and community,” said Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Tammy Carlson. “This document will give candidates a chance to see what is available.”
The project was included in the suggestions from the Campus Climate Task Force.
Along with access to campus cultural resources, such as Safe Zone and employee affinity groups, the page also includes links to many area civic and charitable organizations, such as Conexiones Latinas de McLean County, Prairie Pride Coalition, Black Business Alliance, Not in Our Town, Easter Seals, the YWCA McLean County, and Midwest Food Bank.
“When people choose a job, they are also choosing a community,” said Carlson. “These resources matter to people as part of their quality of life.”
The inspiration for the resource page stemmed from a talk given by Climate Task Force steering committee member Guadalupe Montalvo during an administrator’s training in the fall of 2017. “She noted faculty candidates—staff and students as well—are coming to Illinois State and asking questions that were not addressed in our recruitment materials,” said Carlson, who heard Montalvo speak. Whether it was questions on where to find traditional Indo-Pakistani foods, the right place to get hair done, or places of worship in the community, candidates could be left wondering if they would be comfortable in the area.
Carlson took the idea back to Human Resources, and created a five-person team, headed by Melanie Schaafsma, director of Academic Employment. The team started by scouring websites of McLean County businesses and government entities. “We weren’t really finding all the resources we wanted in one place, so we decided to create one ourselves.”
The team originally considered placing answers to frequently asked questions, but instead decided the information on the various links would keep the site from becoming stale. “We were worried a business we listed might close or move, and then our information would be out of date,” said Abby Bertrand, a member of the Human Resources team working on the site.
Schaafsma is encouraging faculty and staff to review the cultural resources page, and make recommendations for additions. “This is a living document. It is by no means exhaustive,” said Schaafsma. “We will continue to update and expand it to provide as many resources as possible.”
To suggest additions, contact Schaafsma at mkschaa@IllinoisState.edu.