Welcome to a new series of blog posts about efforts to positively shape culture at Hope College. To begin, allow me to reintroduce you to the Culture Action Team. Formed in June of 2020, The Culture Action Team (CAT) is led by Sonja Trent-Brown. Within CAT, there are six individual teams:

  • Processes and Policies: Defined and official processes and policies that guide work, resources and decisions; includes potential ombudsman or whistleblower system.
  • Recognition and Appreciation:  Focused on highlighting and recognizing our colleagues in their efforts and work in facets of equity, inclusion, social justice and general culture at Hope. It is important to acknowledge these efforts and the positive change they create in the lives of Hope students, faculty and staff.
  • Public Events: Forums, fishbowls, panel discussions and the like that are both about culture itself but also serve as models for how to talk about difficult topics in respectful, loving ways.
  • Training: Formal learning opportunities for leaders and teams in areas that could improve culture.
  • Culture Resources for Engaging Work Units: Facilitation for work units and multiple work units that want to improve culture, relationships and collaboration.
  • Culture Communication and Engagement: Engaging all Hope employees in the work and events of the culture action team, as well as how individuals can take individual action to improve culture and grace/understanding/belonging

For now, let’s take a closer look at Culture Resources for Engaging Work Units (CREW). If your office had a colorful bug-rock flying around, you have CREW to thank. The bugs were the perfect symbol for the Culture Action Team and the values of Belonging, Understanding, and Grace (BUG). The intention behind the bugs was to give staff and faculty members an opportunity to acknowledge peers who were demonstrating belonging, understanding, or grace. We all have great intentions around supporting and encouraging our colleagues, but sometimes time just gets away from us. We hope that if you received a bug, you felt both personally encouraged and also took the opportunity to reach out to a colleague with words of affirmation!

We began the semester with 50 bugs flying around campus. Each bug was labeled with a number and a QR code, so that recipients could log where they were flying on campus. Take a look here to see where bugs have been spotted. If you still have a bug perched on your desk, take this opportunity to send it to a colleague who has demonstrated belonging, understanding, and grace. It’s such a tiny gesture, with the potential to have a huge impact.
Keep your eyes open for our next blog post, where you will be introduced to individual members of the Culture Action Team. If you have any questions or suggestions, please email culture@hope.edu.

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