The Helbling Research Group stands in solidarity with all those working to eliminate systemic bias in academia and, more broadly, in society as a whole.
As environmental engineers, our research aims to make the world a better place; we imagine a sustainable future where people live happy and healthy lives while using less of the Earth’s natural resources. We also imagine a future where people have equal opportunities to participate and succeed in their chosen life’s work regardless of race, gender identity, sexuality, disability, neurodiversity, nationality, religion, or class.
In acknowledgement of this vision, our research group aspires to be inclusive and welcoming to all undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and other academic visitors. We aspire to create a safe space where all research group members are free to discuss, listen, learn, and reflect on the bias and discrimination experienced by underrepresented groups in academia and, particularly, in STEM fields; this includes (but certainly is not limited to) BIPOC, women, LGBTQ+, disabled, immigrants, low-income students, and first-generation students. We aspire to adopt anti-racist policies and behaviors as a means to dismantle systems of inequality both inside and outside of academia. We are certain that a commitment to these aspirations will allow us all to become better environmental engineers, better scientists, and better people.
The Helbling Research Group has adopted the following list of actions to promote a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive laboratory:
- Prof. Helbling commits to recruiting new research group members based on a comprehensive evaluation of all candidates and to providing equitable opportunities, training, and resources to support all research group members.
- We will read and reflect on the ideas presented in “How to be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi.
- We will listen to each other, learn from each other, reflect on our experiences, and intervene when we can if we see our peers experiencing discrimination.
- We will normalize conversations about social justice by openly sharing articles, events, and resources and engaging in thoughtful discussions regarding current events on justice issues.
- We will pause and acknowledge days to commemorate social justice issues including (but not necessarily limited to) Martin Luther King Jr. Day (third Monday of January), Earth Day (every April 22), Juneteenth (June 19), and Indigenous Peoples Day (second Monday in October).
This statement and list of actions was drafted and discussed amongst all of the members of the Helbling Research Group in our weekly group meetings during the Spring 2021 semester and will be adapted as needed moving forward.