We often throw the term diversity around. Whether it’s in our Chapters, internships or classes, the concept is always being discussed and rightfully so. However, these conversations never seem to go further than the search for diversity, and the definition is never touched.
Even reputable dictionaries don’t provide substantial definitions for diversity. For example, dictionary.com defines diversity as “the state of being diverse.” The truth is, the concept of diversity defies a definition because it is a fluid and ever changing concept. When we define diversity we tend to use labels in order to characterize the vast possibilities. However, once you put a label on a certain group, it gives the sense that there are those who belong and those who don’t belong. Defining each individual’s diversity is nearly impossible because you can’t put a strict definition on human experience.
“In public relations, the audiences we’re responsible for reaching are diverse,” said PRSSA National President Laura Daronatsy. “This means we’re going to be stretched every day to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. By embracing and engaging with diversity, we can hope to someday better serve our clients but also hope to better serve our peers now.”
Many factors make a group of people diverse. Diversity can truly come in any form. It can include age, religion, sexual orientation, social and economic background, education, military experience and more. The list is endless.
Daronatsy said she sees the potential for PRSSA to move the diversity conversation forward not only in the public relations education and industry, but in general.
“I would love to see the diversity conversations happening in PRSSA expand,” Daronatsy said. “Everyone’s done talking about diversity as it stands; now we’ve got to move toward enhancing our inclusion efforts. How can we, as a pre-professional society, be thought leaders in this area? How can our Chapters work to lead campus conversation around diversity and inclusion? I’m currently talking with some PRSSA leaders on how we can tangibly accomplish this, and would love to hear any members’ thoughts as well.”
Making an effort to understand something you are not familiar with or someone other than yourself is very important to the growth of diversity. And since life experiences influence who people become, why not seek to make your Chapters as diverse as possible?
“Diversity fits in with PRSSA’s core values because, in the simplest terms, we’re all about people and people are diverse,” Daronatsy said.
If I had it my way, I would rewrite the definition of diversity on dictionary.com. Diversity: A vast array of experiences and knowledge in any area of life. Share your definition of diversity on Twitter with #PRdiversity throughout August in celebration of Diversity Month.
Victoria Lewis is the PRSSA National vice president of advocacy and a senior at Belmont University. Follow her on Twitter @VictoriaKLewis, connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.