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7 ways to get involved in UTO's culture work

BY AFOSSUM – APRIL 8, 2021

Culture work is UTO work.

Yesterday’s UTO Town Hall, led by Bonnie LeBlanc, demonstrated the interplay of our organization’s culture and the innovative work being accomplished across the chapters. A review of three of UTO’s 15 strategic priorities underscored the important ways in which our culture of service and innovation reaches beyond the university to provide digital equity to marginalized communities, expand identity and access management through a human-centered lens, and more. 

“Culture enables us to achieve our project, product and service goals through our best selves,” stressed Cheryl Johnson, an IT Project Manager, who spoke on behalf of the Culture Ripples group. 

UTO's Barnaby Wasson shares more about the work of CW-DEIB.

Check out a variety of ways in which all members can be more involved in creating and expanding culture work at UTO:

1. Giving Back to the Community 

Bonnie LeBlanc started the discussion with a review of the ways in which the Giving Back to the Community team works to provide opportunities for the UTO family to continually connect with the community on campus, throughout the valley and all over Arizona. From volunteer opportunities — like donating holiday gifts to families in the community and working at food drives — to participating in community runs and joining outreach programs like Girls Who Code, the team offers a variety of opportunities around environmental impact, ASU family and community, food scarcity, animal welfare, technology and more.

Join one of the following Slack channels to get started: 

2. Health and Wellbeing

The Health & Wellbeing team, as shared by Chris Deaton, Farnoosh Niknam and Jean Squires, brings together team members around a shared goal of a healthier and happier life by intentionally focusing on healthier living, personal growth, and new cultural experiences. Centered on health, wellness and recreation, the team has a variety of ongoing opportunities to get involved:

  • Wellness Camp 2.1 is a year-long points-based system to encourage UTO members to remain engaged in, and get rewarded for, a variety of UTO Giving Back, and Health and WellBeing activities. Learn more and join the Slack channel to stay involved: #uto-wellness

  • Mindful Minutes is a dedicated time — 15-20 minutes on Tuesdays at 11:45 a.m. and Thursdays at noon  — for UTO team members to connect with each other and ourselves through meditation, creative writing and more. Get involved by joining the Slack group at #mindful-minutes 

  • The group is also regularly involved with the Pitchfork Pantry, a student-run food pantry that serves all ASU students in an effort to fight food insecurity and promote well-being, sustainability and food recovery. Donate today!

3. Culture Weavers

The Culture Weavers community of practice includes numerous teamlets, each working to advance the work of culture within the UTO:

  • The Alignment Teamlet focuses their efforts on incorporating the Positive Core values of Relational, Authentic, Visionary and Empowered into various initiatives. Most recently they have been working on UTO 2.1 Belonging and UTO Work-Life Balance.

  • The Invigoration Teamlet is dedicated to working together to uplift the UTO community and help UTO employees and our ASU community know that they are valued. Some of our current efforts include developing a Professional Development page as a one-stop-shop for UTO employees.

  • The Operations Teamlet makes all these ideas happen!

Kasey Kautenberger and Zella Muro invited all UTO family members to join them at any Culture Weavers meeting to brainstorm new initiatives within these teamlets. Learn more by joining one or all of the CW Slack channels at  #cw-alignment#cw-invigoration and #cw-operations.

4. Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Belonging 

Over the summer, UTO came together to formulate an Affirmative Pledge that has now moved into action. Kyle Bowen and Barnaby Wasson expanded upon the pledge and how it led to the creation of WG-Diversity and CW-DEIB (Diversity, Equality, Inclusion and Belonging), two working groups dedicated to making a meaningful difference in advancing diversity within UTO and the university. While WG-D shapes how we activate diversity through the positive core and leadership principle, CW-DEIB supports us all as we “walk the diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging talk” through direct actions and small group conversations. 

Join WG-D at #uto-wg-d and CW-DEIB at #cw-embracing-diversity

5. Culture Ripples

Inspired by UTO’s Culture Weavers, Cheryl Johnson shared ways to get involved with Culture Ripplesan ASU-wide community of practice that serves as a generative gathering space for designing, learning and disseminating methods for creating ripples of collaboration and transparency across ASU, while transforming the technical and relational architectures necessary for democratized learning and living.

We already bring our UTO selves to all kinds of spaces across ASU, so bring your best self by joining #asu-culture-ripples and #bb-stay-conversations.

6. Responsible Innovation Chapter

Chris Richardson and Jeni White shared information about the newest culture initiative UTO’s Responsible Innovation. The RI’s guiding charter creates a five-point framework to guide all product, project or service teams with a common mindset. The framework centers on the following five themes: 1) lead with the "why; 2) be human-centered; 3) many voices make enlightened work; 4) look backward and forward; and 5) water the grassroots.

Learn more about this work and join the discussion and future development of the framework at #uto-responsible-innovation-guild 

7. C3 stands for culture, creative and communications

Corinna Busciglio and Annie Davis, representing the WG-C3 team, explained that the C3 teamstrives for purposeful, intentional co-creation of UTO’s culture, specifically through strategic communications, storytelling, and events. In doing so, the team delivers content outputs — toolkits and templates, community wide events, and UTO Newsroom stories — that help actualize and surface the everyday culture-in-action happening throughout our organization. Here’s how you can get involved: 

  • Check out the UTO Newsroom for the latest news, updates and developments happening across UTO and join #uto-comms-ambassadors-guild, a monthly meetup to discuss updates and brainstorm possible stories from across UTO.

  • Participate in our events — up next, we have Empower 2021, ASU’s IT Professional Community annual retreat, from May 13-14, 2021. Get registered and then take your participation a step further as a volunteer

Culture work is UTO work. As such, it requires collective action, input and participation  by all UTO family members to advance our core values: relational, authentic, visionary and empowered

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