The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is seeking nominations for the first Nebraska Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact Awards at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 

The DEI awards will recognize individuals and groups who demonstrate the Core Values of the university, according to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The award ceremony will be held virtually on April 13, and nominations will be accepted through March 22. 

The university’s Core Values consist of diversity of ideas and people, achievement supported by a climate that celebrates each person’s success, research and creative activity that inform teaching, fostering discovery and contributing to economic prosperity and quality of life, according to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

According to Nkenge Friday, assistant vice chancellor of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the office is looking for people who recognize differences and strive for a positive environment for all. 

Other characteristics the office is looking for include demonstrating advocacy for social justice, promoting cultural competency in transformative ways and deepening awareness of equity, inclusion and diversity issues, according to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.  

“These awards are designed to highlight efforts from students, faculty and staff across campus,” Friday said. “We want to recognize people that help advance DEI efforts.”

The awards break down into four categories, which include the Diversity Leadership Faculty Award, Diversity Leadership Staff Award, Promising Leader Award and Collective Impact Award, according to Friday. 

The Diversity Leadership Faculty Award and Diversity Leadership Staff Award will be given to an individual faculty or staff member that is employed at the time of the nomination.

The Promising Leader Award will be presented to both an undergraduate and a graduate student who are enrolled as UNL students at the time of the nomination.

The Collective Impact award will be given to a group such as a college, department, student group or faculty and staff organization or committee.

Charlie Foster, assistant vice chancellor for Inclusive Student Excellence, said she hopes people will take this chance to nominate people who are making a difference around campus. 

According to Foster, each winner will receive a recognition plaque and certificate during the award ceremony. A cash prize of $1000 will be given for the Collective Impact Award toward service. Individual winners will receive $500 each toward service. All awards will be sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

In order to nominate someone, a nomination form must be completed. Along with the nomination form, a nomination letter that provides an overview of work done and an explanation of how the work embodies inclusive excellence is required. A minimum of one letter of support must be included. Self-nominations are accepted and multiple nominations are encouraged, according to Friday.

“This gives us the opportunity to really give credit to folks who have been working hard,” Foster said. “We’re really excited to give the opportunity to everyone across campus.”

Friday said that these won’t be typical awards because the office is going to look at those who take a transformative and sustainable approach. She hopes that these awards will show how this work is being manifested and that it will create conversations around what this work can look like. 

“There have been multiple efforts underway at our university for those who really do take a meaningful approach to this work,” Friday said. “It’s for those who may not always get a platform or recognized. We are really excited to provide a platform to highlight those efforts. Hopefully, this will inspire other people in ways in which they can individually or collectively make a difference at the university.”