The Facilities Design and Operations (FDO) division celebrated Walk the Walk Week, Feb. 22-28, with its own efforts to ‘walk the walk.’
In the fall, the division founded Equity FDO, an initiative for staff to learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion with the mission "to achieve a culture within FDO that embraces and empowers all individuals and celebrates their uniqueness." During Walk the Walk Week, Equity FDO offered programming for the division with more than 100 staff members participating.
Doug Marsh, vice president and University architect, explained, “As part of Walk the Walk Week, we held a forum on how to recognize racial bias and the differences between equity and equality. This was all via Zoom, of course, where we watched three videos and then went into small breakout ‘rooms’ after each for facilitated discussions.”
Tyron McGhee, a maintenance supervisor and the chair of the Equity FDO communications team, offered the opening remarks: “Diversity and inclusion shouldn’t be a conversation that is avoided. It’s important to have these conversations within our teams. Making diversity and inclusion a normal subject to talk about benefits everyone. Different backgrounds and cultures bring a multitude of experiences and opinions that are beneficial to the growth of our society. The more it is embraced and discussed, the more it becomes ingrained in our culture.”
Following the programming, staff met at the Father Ted/Father Ned sculpture outside the Hesburgh Library to pick up a box lunch and desserts baked by the Puerto Rican Bakery and Coffee Shop in South Bend. Masks featuring Equity FDO's new logo, which FDO staff chose, were also distributed.
McGhee stressed the importance of the program.. “These conversations will require effort from everyone, this isn’t the time to say it’s not my problem,” he said.