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Inclusive spaces

Pride at Memorial: Conference and Event Services an official ally

Campus and Community

By Erin Croft

Memorial University’s Conference and Event Services unit is now Rainbow Registered.

Rainbow Registered is a national accreditation program offered by Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce.

As part of the program, Conference and Event Services, based at Signal Hill Campus, is listed in the Rainbow Registered directory — a national directory of businesses and organizations certified as LBGTQ friendly.

When you see a Rainbow Registered symbol, you know the business or organization meets a stringent set of standards to ensure LGBTQ customers feel safe, welcome and accepted.

Fostering inclusion

Upon learning about the program during a presentation by a Chamber of Commerce member, the Conference and Event Services unit at Signal Hill Campus decided to pursue the accreditation as it aligned with its values.

“As a Memorial University unit that works with the public, it is important that our employees, partners, vendors, clients and the guests of our clients feel safe and welcome,” said Adam Saunders, acting director, Operations, Conference and Event Services, Signal Hill Campus. “Becoming Rainbow Registered allows us to recognize the steps that this unit has already taken towards being a safe space and demonstrates our commitment to fostering an inclusive environment.”

Emera Innovation Exchange building with exterior staircase painted rainbow.
The colours of the Progress flag are just one sign of Signal Hill Campus’s inclusive environment.
Photo: Submitted

The program sets a rigorous set of standards and accredited organizations must demonstrate that they are consistent in their efforts to provide a welcoming and accepting experience for customers and staff.

To become accredited, an organization’s workplace policies are assessed to ensure that ongoing compliance and best practices are in place.

This focuses on four key areas, including policies and practices, training, commitment to inclusive leadership, and a culture of inclusivity.

“Part of this work is recognizing that not every group or individual will have the same needs or expectations of an inclusive space.” — Joshua Goudie

While working through the process, Conference and Event Services employees realized the unit met a number of the standards already, such as having a gender-neutral washroom on-site and a respectful pronoun policy.

In addition, staff painted the exterior staircase of the Emera Innovation Exchange the colours of the Progress flag to celebrate Pride.

Continued commitment

Becoming Rainbow Registered involves more than having existing infrastructure and policies in place, however.

“Not only have we met the stringent standards of Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce, but we have also committed to ongoing education within our own unit,” said Joshua Goudie, event co-ordinator. “Part of this work is recognizing that not every group or individual will have the same needs or expectations of an inclusive space.”

Accreditation is reviewed annually, an ongoing process to ensure organizations are honouring their commitment to incorporating best practices as they evolve.

The unit is exploring additional opportunities to demonstrate its commitment to inclusivity as part of this continuing work.

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