BROOKINGS, S.D. — City of Brookings Mayor Keith Corbett announced Brookings Inclusive Collaborative week to be held April 17 – 24, 2021, to honor the work of the Brookings Inclusive Collaborative, or BIC, in our community.

BIC is a community coalition comprised of South Dakota State University, Brookings Economic Development Corporation, Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce, Brookings Human Rights Commission, and Vision Brookings. The BIC team is hosting two community conversations focused on workplace diversity and inclusion during the week of April 17-24, 2021.

The first Community Conversation is an in-person event that will be held at the Swiftel Center on Saturday, April 17, from 9 a.m. to noon (this meeting is full). The BIC team will also hold a second Community Conversation online via Zoom, next Saturday April 24, from 1-3 p.m. (this meeting still has openings). Community members interested in attending the online Community Conversation on Saturday, April 24 are asked to fill out a form at https://forms.office.com/r/Cp0qgSLDyb.

Principal investigator Rebecca Kuehl said the discussions will consider different approaches for enhancing inclusion in the workplace but also in the Brookings community at large. 

“These community conversations are pivotal to continuing to enhance inclusion in Brookings. All are welcome to attend,” said Kuehl, an associate professor in SDSU’s School of Communication and Journalism and coordinator of SDSU’s Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies program. Dr. Molly Krueger Enz, professor of French and coordinator of Global Studies at SDSU, is the co-principal investigator on the team and has led the team’s work alongside Kuehl.

Last fall, the BIC team convened 14 focus groups with more than 80 participants across different stakeholders of the Brookings community, including business leaders, human resources professionals, K-12 educators, culturally diverse employees, faith-based leaders, and long-term Brookings County residents. Participants described their experiences of navigating cultural differences in the workplace and if they felt included in the Brookings community. While focus group participants indicated some progress on diversity and inclusion in Brookings, they also noted areas for improvement. The Community Conversations are an opportunity to continue the community-wide dialogue toward enhancing inclusion in Brookings.

The Brookings Inclusive Collaborative is made possible through a $193,256 Community Innovation Grant from the Bush Foundation, the charitable arm of 3M.

About the Bush Foundation

The Bush Foundation invests in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography. Established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Bush Foundation supports organizations and people who think bigger and think differently about what is possible in their communities. The Bush Foundation works to inspire and support creative problem-solving—within and across sectors—to make the region better for everyone.

About South Dakota State University

Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from seven different colleges representing more than 200 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 36 master’s degree programs, 15 Ph.D. and two professional programs. The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.

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