At Student Hubs our vision is a society in which every student engages with social and environmental challenges during their time at university, empowering them to become active citizens for life.
Yes, we mean every student. We believe that society’s toughest challenges cannot be solved unless diverse populations of citizens tackle them – people representative of the communities they serve.
Sadly the charity sector, including us, has made too little progress in these areas in past years. A recent report from the Charity Commission says that charities need to do more to promote diversity on their boards and encourage applications from women, young people and people from ethnic minority and socially diverse backgrounds. The majority (92%) of trustees are white, older and above average income and education.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ensuring that your trustee, staff and volunteer communities are diverse, flourishing and representative. Student Hubs is proud to have a Trustee Board that is diverse in terms of gender and age, but we are also aware that there is much room for improvement in other areas.
In 2017 we reviewed our approach to diversity and inclusion on both a Senior Management and Board level. We developed an integrated approach that enables our staff, students and beneficiaries to thrive. As a result:
- We now have a Management Team lead for Equality and Inclusion and local champions across our network of Hubs.
- We regularly monitor the demographics of our student volunteers and have set ourselves ambitious targets for closing the gaps in areas of underrepresentation.
- We deliver core training on individual Diversity and Inclusion responsibilities as part of staff inductions.
- We conducted our first annual inclusion audits of our flagship programmes during summer 2017.
We know we still have a long way to go, so we want to make our commitments for 2018 public. We hope to encourage other organisations in this journey towards diversity and inclusion. Our commitments include:
- Promoting diversity on our board of trustees, in particular addressing representation in terms of BAME and socio-economic backgrounds.
- Developing core training and resources for our student leaders to deliver inclusive and accessible programmes on the ground.
- Sharing emerging areas of best practice with the youth social action sector and promoting the importance of inclusive and accessible opportunities.
Jennifer Ekelund, Interim Chair of Student Hubs’ Trustee Board, says:
“Diversity and inclusion are vitally important to achieving the Student Hubs mission. We want to place inclusive values front and centre of all we do in 2018 and beyond. The trustees are excited to be working with the staff team and student community on this. We are keen to learn from others in the sector as well as sharing our own experiences. Reflecting frankly on how we are doing has been a hugely useful exercise, making me very hopeful for all we could, and should, achieve.”
If you would like to discuss our approach, ask questions or share your own tips, please email Fatima.
Oxford Hub IT lesson – part of our LinkAges programme.
Photo credit: The Rothschild Foundation / Chris Lacey.