We Have Work To Do campaign progresses toward goals to increase diversity, equity, inclusion despite pandemic

This photo was taken on March 15, 2020. We Have Work To Do aims to raise awareness around campus with branded buttons and stickers. Their message is a reminder that there is still work to be done to support and uplift minoritized community members.

Teresita Guzman Nader, News Reporter

Since its launch in the 2018/19 academic year, the campaign We Have Work To Do has worked towards making Oregon State University a more inclusive and equitable campus. In the second year of the campaign, We Have Work To Do has created a new Got Work To Do Podcast, among other initiatives.

Brandi Douglas, assistant director of outreach from the Office of Institutional Diversity is the host of the new podcast, where she has conversations with students, faculty and staff from OSU whose work intersects with diversity, equity and inclusion. 

The podcast started on Sept. 30, 2019, and currently has seven episodes. A new episode is released each month, and posted on the We Have Work To Do website.

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” Executive Order 20-12, has restricted the way We Have Work To Do can engage with the OSU community, the campaign team have created several ways to engage with them.

“First, in the spirit of building coalitions, we plan to use our social media outlets to help amplify the message and work of our colleagues across the university during this time. Second, the Got Work To Do podcast will have four episodes this term,” Douglas said in an email.

The podcast topics will focus on themes surrounding how diversity, equity and inclusion work has changed due to the pandemic. 

“Lastly, we will be hosting a series of webinars that will be hosted by the Office of Institutional Diversity. The webinars will feature colleagues and offices in hopes to share best practices and what services have been adapted to address COVID-19 while also centering equity,” Douglas said in an email.

In fall 2019, Natalia Fernández, associate professor and curator of the Oregon Multicultural Archives and OSU Queer Archives, participated in episode three of the Got Work To Do Podcast along, with Raven Waldron second-year doctor of pharmacy student and activist.

“We discussed activism and coalition building on campus,” Fernández said via email. “Both of these experiences were meaningful to me because they were wonderful opportunities to connect with campus colleagues and be part of a growing community of individuals dedicated to social justice.“

Scott Vignos, assistant vice president for strategic diversity initiatives in the Office of Institutional Diversity, participated on episode two of the Got Work To Do Podcast, where he talked about his work at the Office of Institutional Diversity, and the work that OID has done since it first opened in February of 2016. 

“This year, I have really enjoyed participating in and supporting the ‘Got Work To Do’ podcast. The podcast has been a great way to explore the campaign themes by learning about the work and efforts of Oregon State community members across a variety of departments and areas. I really encourage folks to check it out,” Vignos said via email.

In an email, Douglas said the We Have Work To Do campaign is in its second year and is more focused on making sure the message goes beyond event planning through the Office of Institutional Diversity. 

“We want to make sure to note that there are several ways to engage in this campaign that don’t require planning an event,” Douglas said via email. “On the We Have Work To Do website, we have Ways to Engage section that goes into more detail by providing resources and opportunities to connect with the campaign.”

Another way that the We Have Work To Do campaign has attempted to increase awareness about diversity, equity and inclusion in the past, is by giving away free stickers of the campaign to remind the OSU community that there is still much work to do.

“I love seeing the stickers and buttons all over the university. It’s a reminder of the commitment that exists across Oregon State to engage in making change and to supporting minoritized community members,” Vignos said via email.

In an email, Vignos said We Have Work To Do has been orienting Oregon State community members to acknowledge that everyone has a role to play in creating a university animated by diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“This work doesn’t live in one or two offices, but must be shared and integrated into all of our work. The campaign has been a great vehicle to explore what we can all do to make change within our individual spheres of influence,” Vignos said via email.

During this campaign, Douglas said she encourages students to use the OSU experience website and the Canvas site created by Associated Students of Oregon State University as a resource to cope with stress during these uncertain times. The bias incidents, and other resources are still available at the We Have Work To Do website for all OSU students, faculty and staff.