Brown has a long-standing commitment to cultivating and sustaining an inclusive environment for all members of our increasingly diverse community. Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University builds on the University's history of action in confronting racism, discrimination and non-inclusion. 

In alignment with this commitment, as our 100,000+ Brown alumni community grows it is imperative that programming and opportunities are developed that reflect, embrace, and honor the identities and experiences of the entire alumni community. 

To lay the foundation for achieving this, the Brown Alumni Association (BAA) has developed a statement of commitment with six long-term strategic goals that will guide the work of the BAA and the Office of Alumni Relations in the evolution of alumni engagement programs.

Brown Alumni Association Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Strategic Goals Statement

The Brown Alumni Association is committed to building and maintaining an alumni engagement program that embraces the alumni community's myriad identities, experiences, and backgrounds and is embedded in the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Guided by the historically underrepresented groups alumni survey conducted in 2020, the Brown Alumni Association has established the following Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Strategic Goals:

  1. Build and sustain strong and engaged alumni communities by supporting and collaborating with Brown's affinity groups. Look for opportunities to grow affinity groups and shared interest group networks.
  2. Foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging practices across all levels of alumni volunteer leadership.
  3. Create communications that encompass the interests of alumni from historically underrepresented groups and help foster a sense of belonging and connection to the Brown community.
  4. Engage recent graduates through programming that appeals to their interests and aligns with their diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging values.
  5. Expand alumni engagement in career development and mentorship programs for students and recent graduates from historically underrepresented groups.
  6. Continue to gather feedback from historically underrepresented and diverse alumni. Share this feedback with University leadership, faculty, and administrators to help guide the evolution and emergence of initiatives and policies at Brown to address the needs and interests of Brown's diverse and historically underrepresented student and alumni communities.

two students walk along path on the Main Green

Informing Our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Strategic Goals

The BAA, in partnership with the Office of Alumni Relations, released a Historically Underrepresented Groups (HUGs) Alumni Engagement Survey in the fall of 2020. The purpose of this survey was to gain a greater understanding of the perspectives, experiences, and needs of Brown's alumni of color, LGBTQ+, and first-generation college constituencies to help inform long-term strategies for building more inclusive alumni engagement programming. 

The survey asked a range of questions about the student experience, attitudes toward Brown, and staying connected post-graduation. Respondents were also asked about their perceptions of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the context of their engagement with the Brown community. 

Out of the 20,028 alumni who received the survey, 1,670 responded (an 8% response rate), providing invaluable insights into their Brown experiences over the last 70 years. 

These findings provide a solid starting point, and we will continue to gather feedback and research that will allow us to incorporate the perspectives and needs of Brown’s alumni community.

What we learned from the 2020 HUGs alumni engagement survey:

  • The strength of Brown's student support programs and community networks are an important factor in the student experience and have a large impact on HUGs students’ health and well-being. In the future, it will be important to look for opportunities to foster alumni connections to Brown’s identity centers and other key departments and programs that shaped the experience of our historically underrepresented alumni.
  • We are at a good starting point on matters relating to DEI and alumni engagement programming, but there are opportunities for improvement in developing programming and communications that engage the interests and meet the needs of a broader segment of the historically underrepresented alumni constituency, especially young alumni. 
  • A significant number of survey respondents reported negative experiences either as a student or as an alum that challenged their sense of inclusion and belonging within the Brown community. Students turned to campus programs and community networks in times of struggle and adversity and to celebrate accomplishments. Moving forward, it is important to explore ways we can strengthen the sense of belonging among our historically underrepresented alumni. This begins with understanding their lived experiences.
  • There is a clear alignment with student needs and alumni interests around career mentorship and development. It will be important to explore opportunities to enhance career development and mentoring programs and improve communications and outreach to ensure alumni are aware of currently available options.
  • Alumni volunteer groups have a significant impact on the alumni engagement experience. Survey responses indicated room for improvement regarding volunteer group composition and sensitivity to diversity and inclusion matters.
  • Survey results indicate that alumni affinity groups significantly impact the level of engagement and overall sense of connection alumni feel with the University. Support of these groups is incredibly important in maintaining and strengthening the connection of historically underrepresented alumni to Brown.

The Path Forward: Building More Inclusive Alumni Programming

Based on these findings and the strategic goals statement, the BAA Board of Governors, in partnership with Alumni Relations, will identify and implement short-term and intermediate-term projects and initiatives that will advance progress on the long-term strategic goals. 

Our priority areas of focus over the coming months will be:

  • Expanding alumni involvement with career development and mentorship programs for students and recent graduates from historically underrepresented groups.
  • Equipping alumni volunteer leaders—who have a central role in inclusive community-building—to implement intentional practices that foster a sense of connection and belonging with alumni who have a myriad of lived experiences. During the Fall 2021 Volunteer Immersion Program, Alumni Relations staff hosted a DEI Training on “How to Build a More Inclusive Alumni Engagement Strategy” for our volunteer community.
  • Increasing Office of Alumni Relations staffing for the Multicultural Alumni Program in order to provide additional support for the critically important work of assisting alumni affinity group activities and to support new engagement initiatives that speak to the interests and needs of Brown’s diverse alumni community.    

Over the coming months, we will provide updates to Brown’s alumni community on our progress with these goals.


For more information about these efforts, please contact us:

EMAIL [email protected]

(Updated October 29, 2021)