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THON Outlines New Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiatives

THON released a new plan Thursday that outlines initiatives it will take to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization.

Each initiative falls under a distinct category within the four-page plan. Categories include accessibility, accountability, applications/interviews, community relations, equity programming, engagement, financial support, recruitment, reporting, and transparency.

One of the major new initiatives included in the plan is name-blind application reviews. In this new process, captains won’t see applicants’ names attached to applications, which could reduce biases and discrimination toward minority groups.

THON also said all volunteers will be asked DEI-related questions in their applications. Additionally, virtual interviews will continue to be used for those who don’t feel comfortable being in person yet. Business casual dress is also no longer required for interviews.

Accessibility appears to be a major component of THON’s plan. The organization said it plans to provide sign language translators at every event leading up to THON Weekend and add closed captioning to any video it produces. It is also working on creating translations for important THON documents to distribute to people whose first language is not English.

During THON 2021’s virtual events, many media components, including the line dance, didn’t feature sign language translations or closed captioning. Subtitles were usually used when THON was held in the Bryce Jordan Center.

THON’s executive committee and captains will also take mandatory bias training offered by Penn State. Similarly, every committee will have a DEI-focused liaison who will facilitate conversations that surround DEI topics.

Finally, THON will create a dedicated webpage to help members report incidents of bias and discrimination, which will be reviewed within 48 hours, according to the plan. The organization will also release a public report disclosing its DEI-related statistics by March 1, 2022.

You can read the full list of DEI initiatives that THON plans to enact here.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey is a senior from Annapolis, Maryland, majoring in secondary education and minoring in social justice in education. When he is not writing for the blog, he enjoys rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor", and yes mom, actually doing school work. If you would like to talk about sports or "Survivor", the best way to reach out is on Twitter @theowenabbey. All other compliments may be sent to [email protected]

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