Belonging, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Belonging, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (BEDI) Commitment from the Director's Office

At the Institute of the Environment, our goal is to engender and actively support the development of a vibrant and welcoming community in which each individual is and feels valued, and has a sense of belonging – so that we truly become an equitable, inclusive, and diverse institution. Our leadership philosophy is centered on mutual respect, civility, and empathy; attributes that inform all of our actions. We respect the experiences, challenges, and realities of individuals, and firmly believe that our institute is enriched by the many dimensions of diversity and identity that characterize us and the larger university of which we are a part.  

We recognize that systems and structures have historically created advantages and disadvantages for, as well as caused harm to, certain groups. We are committed to supporting structural changes that will create more equitable societies and more sustainable ecosystems, and reaffirm a strong commitment to support gender, racial, and ethnic diversity, as well as equity and inclusivity in STEM disciplines and in society at large. We firmly believe that we cannot have environmental justice without racial and social justice. We affirm that environmental endeavors focused on discovery, research, scholarship, education, and engagement, require and significantly benefit from the incorporation of diverse cultural, social, and political perspectives. 

Michael Willig, Executive Director

Ashley Helton, Deputy Director

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the territory of the Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Nipmuc, and Lenape Peoples, who have stewarded this land throughout the generations. We thank them for their strength and resilience in protecting this land, and aspire to uphold our responsibilities according to their example.

Learn more about the UConn Land Acknowledgement.