Students of Georgetown, Inc., the Georgetown University Alumni Student Federal Credit Union and Georgetown Blue and Gray Tour Guides have made changes to their application processes for the spring application season to cultivate a more diverse pool of students.
These changes include developing new interview questions and increasing the number of people involved in hiring decisions.
The Corp plans to involve 19 of its members in the recruitment process, compared to its previous two members, to include different perspectives when making hiring decisions, according to The Corp’s CEO Taylor Tobin (COL ’17).
“Now, the store director — as well as the whole director’s team — has taken this on,” Tobin said. “This is crucial to moving our company forward beyond saying ‘Diversity is good’ to saying it needs to be ingrained into who we are. It’s so crucial.”
Tobin said The Corp will also change the types of questions it asks during interviews.
“We’re changing our questions to be more professionally focused and more straightforward and away from the stereotype of the ‘Corp-y Corpie,’” Tobin said. “Then, we hope that helps to level the playing field.”
Corp Director of Human Resources Isabella Todaro (SFS ’16) said the changes were prompted by a belief within club leadership that it could do a better job of having fairer applications, geared toward students of varied backgrounds.
“We know that historically Georgetown has problems with this, so it’s idealistic, but I would like to see a Corp that’s even more diverse and inclusive than Georgetown,” Todaro said. “As an institution, we have a history of being an advocating body that pushes Georgetown towards good, that’s why we were founded.”
Tobin said expanded diversity was needed not only for the new hire pool but within the existing club culture as well.
“It’s important for Georgetown because for Georgetown to be their very best, it means embracing everyone’s whole selves. That’s what this is all about,” Tobin said. “We want every single employee to be able to bring their whole selves to The Corp and to really thrive in this community, and we also want this community to represent all of Georgetown.”
In a letter published on its Facebook page, The Corp said an internal climate survey drew attention to the lack of diversity.
“The Corp was founded to make sure that the many voices of the student body are heard and to serve our community’s diverse needs. Our hiring has not reflected these values,” the letter reads. “Though we didn’t need numbers to tell us this, after an internal climate survey, our lack of diversity became strikingly clear.”
The Corp also created a diversity working group to create plans on post-hiring policies. The group came out of a diversity town hall, during which students of different backgrounds shared their experiences of inclusion or exclusion, according to Penn Conrad (MSB ’20), an employee at Vital Vittles.
According to Blue and Gray Outreach Coordinator Matt Treacy (COL ’19), Blue and Gray edited the spring application questions to be more in line with the roles and responsibilities of being a tour guide.
“When we first started doing summer hiring for summer guides, we completely scrapped all of the interview questions that we used in the past. We felt like they were kind of frustrating because nobody really cares what kind of character would play you in a movie,” Treacy said. “We only selected questions that are more situational, as well as incorporating a tour portion.”
Treacy said he hopes the new questions will not only cultivate a more diverse pool of applicants, but help the tour guides more accurately reflect the student body as a whole, to best represent Georgetown.
“Blue and Gray, more than other groups, certainly has a responsibility to be more diverse and more representative of Georgetown because we are a lot of prospective students’ first contact with Georgetown,” Treacy said. “When we stand up on a stage and prospective students see us as a group of ambassadors for the university, they want to see someone that they can connect with.”
GUASFCU has also worked to reach out to clubs on campus that are not well represented within its organization, according to Graham Ritter (MSB ’19), a member of GUASFCU’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
“We’re also reaching out to different resource centers and cultural groups on campus to make sure that they know about us and that they know about the new hiring processes,” Ritter said. “For example, I reached out to the LGBTQ Resource Center and got ourselves on their listserv.”
Although these changes are being implemented this semester, leaders said it may take time for the changes to become noticeable in the cultures and demographics of their organizations.
For the time being, Todaro said it is important to take steps toward integrating students of different backgrounds into Georgetown’s biggest organizations.
“We hope that by taking such a public stance on this, other clubs see it and try to make the same effort. We’re certainly not perfect, but we take this very seriously,” Todaro said. “We want to take the steps to be more diverse.”
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