Why Do Diversity and Inclusion Matter?

In order to set and achieve appropriate diversity goals, an association must first define diversity and inclusion.

Diversity encompasses the differences of our population, including but not limited to racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural identity; spoken language and/or accents; religion; age; sexual orientation; socioeconomic status; nationality; political affiliation; ability/disability; marital status; appearance; geographic location; professional level or institution type.

Inclusion is what is being done to not marginalize, discriminate, or minimize a group or population because of what makes them different. For example, inclusivity: highlights the care for others’ differences and lived experiences; shows respect for everyone, avoids gendered language, Indicates a commitment to working towards achieving equity and enhancing diversity, while including all social identity groups.

Question: Why do diversity and inclusion matter at the state, regional and national association level?

Answer: Because diverse and inclusive associations help members:

  • Better understand how to better speak to our audiences, which can include students, parents, financial aid colleagues, and others within our institutions--to name a few.
  • Work to ensure appropriate representation to the extent possible (in events, etc.)
  • Work with our students effectively. Financial aid administrators talk to students and families from all backgrounds about their finances, a topic which is very personal for some. To have empathy and to help them, it’s important to understand their diverse perspective.


Everyone has their own set of implicit biases, some of which we may understand and acknowledge, and others which may be totally unconscious. To find out more about your biases, go to Harvard's Project Implicit and try you hand at any of their Implicit Association Tests (IATs). 


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