ECO DEI Statement & Strategy
ECO AmeriCorps values all voices and identities in the conservation space. We seek to uplift & engage diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments in service and in our state.
We recognize the need to identify, craft, and sustain an active strategy for creating a program that is accessible to anyone wanting to serve Vermont communities. Embarking on this mission to redefine who we are, become more mindful of how and where we spend time & effort, and align our shared values with those whose land we occupy, the ECO AmeriCorps members have committed to raising the bar for service in our state.
In sharing the labor of learning as a program, we can help ourselves and eachother achieve greater levels of understanding, appreciation, and respect. Through these achievements, we can serve the land and communities of Vermont with intention.
- Visit our DEI Library
- Using our Communication Center, please inform us of educational opportunties, projects, programs, or organizations we might aim to build relationships with
- View our DEIJ Handbook created for members and host sites
In addition to creating space for conversation, growth, and learning, we recognize the need to meet ideas with action. These are action items our program has either completed or is currently putting time and effort behind:
- Formation of this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategy where a "Town Meeting" forum-style session on these topics led to the creation of a DEI Focus Group. This member-led initiative meets twice a week to take feedback from the ECO network and turn it into new language around DEI in our program and leads plans for change in intended areas like BIPOC ad LGBTQIA+ community parterships, expansion of member recruitment pools, DEI program trainings, and more.
- ECO AmeriCorps Safe, Affordable Housing Network has been generated in an attempt to make commitment to service in Vermont more accessible. In this environment of low housing availability matched with very high rent and utiliy costs, members find it extremely hard to find suitable living arrangements on top of relocation and other costs associated with service in AmeriCorps and the low living stipend. Any interested host or landlord looking to help ECOs help their community is invited to fillout this interest survey!
- For the first time, the Host Site Application for the 2021-2022 service year included a question asking what each organization is doing on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts. The intention of weighing their responses in the selection process is to ensure our partners are also improving and creating opportunities for their ECO members to get involved in DEI efforts both within the program and at their host site. We believe that holding ourselves and our host site organiztions to higher standards for DEI commitments will encourge more significant influence of change around Vermont.
Accountability and follow through of our strategy will make for successful positive change for our program. While we continue pushing ahead on our action items, we acknowledge there are other issues and areas for improvement. As the ECO AmeriCorps program grows, and with it our DEI strategy, we plan to insert members and leadership into more complex, broadly ranging topics & conversations. These are areas we recognize as barriers or systemic issues prevalent in service:
- Living Stipend
- Lack of Recruitment to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+
- Lack of Support for Affinity Spaces/Groups