Sharing success stories, mentoring programs, polishing up writing skills, and a leadership-focused book club are examples of the eight employee-generated ideas funded by the Ripple Effect at Colorado State University. “We are so pleased by the innovation and creativity shown in the proposals we received,” said Amy Parsons, vice president for University Operations, who oversees the Ripple Effect project. “Hearing directly from our colleagues and embracing their ideas is key to moving us toward our goal of making CSU the best place to work for women. I’m looking forward to seeing these ideas implemented and becoming part of the fabric of our university.” Funding the proposals was made possible by a gift from an unnamed donor in support of giving good ideas seed funding. In addition, CSU President Tony Frank and Provost Rick Miranda supported the effort with additional funding because of the number of quality proposals submitted. Nearly 50 proposals were submitted by male and female faculty and staff from across campus, representing a diverse array of departments and collaborations. Funded grants are:
- Stories ‘n’ Steps: A project that showcases stories of challenge, revelation and strength of CSU students, staff, faculty and alumni through photos and stories. The stories center on the impact of gender on experiences learning and working at CSU.
- CSU Writes: Structured support for women to write for publication, degree completion and personal growth through writing groups. This project will foster writing groups and offer workshops and presentations, establishing long-term, sustainable commitment to writing groups on campus.
- Leadership book club for women: Fostering leadership success through a book club for individuals who identify as women, with discussion about the book, takeaways and how lessons from the book can be implemented at CSU. A new book will be selected every six weeks and a $15 discount on featured books will be offered to the first 30 women who buy each book.
- Mentoring women: Creating networks that bring together senior men and women who are recognized as fantastic mentors for women, including men in current or future positions of leadership who want to be great mentors for women. Potential mentors will be trained through workshops and meetings to develop a cadre of men and women who are committed to exceptional mentoring for women and enthusiastic about spreading knowledge to the rest of campus.
- Financial literacy: A series of presentations to help women better manage personal finances will cover creating and sticking to a personal budget, developing and tracking financial goals, selecting a financial advisor, balancing bank accounts, managing credit card debt, safe e-commerce and avoiding identity theft. The series will be presented in partnership with First National Bank and will be free.
- Women’s recreation ride: Bicycle safety and group rides for women hosted by Parking and Transportation Services, including monthly lunchtime rides, educational classes for women who want to polish up their bicycle skills, and lunch-and-learn presentations every other month. The interactions created by this project would help women overcome barriers to bicycling including demands of childcare, and to provide positive social and physical experiences for women on campus.
- Home repair and maintenance series: A series of home-repair classes, taught by knowledgeable volunteers, will introduce the basics of home repair, arming participants with the background to safely tackle common household repairs while helping them identify jobs best left to professionals. Initial classes will focus on electrical and plumbing repairs including finding the main water line in a house and closing the valve, unclogging a drain, fixing a leaky toilet, understanding electrical panels and identifying and turning off proper breakers before doing electrical work, and replacing a wall switch or outlet. The classes also will provide tips for selecting a professional contractor for bigger jobs and resources for more information.
- We Lead: Develop an institute for underrepresented, high-school aged women to help them explore career possibilities as well as network and develop self-esteem. The annual, three-day, interactive program would help encourage a greater number of Colorado students to attend college and provide a framework for CSU women and men in sharing their stories, strategies and disciplines with young women to develop their leadership potential through relationships, experiential activities and mentoring. CSU students will also provide support and encourage participants’ academic and personal growth.