Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Affinity Groups

What is an Affinity Group?

An Affinity Group is a group of faculty and staff linked by a common purpose, ideology, or interest.  Affinity Groups play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed.  They can provide a collective voice for faculty and staff with common interests, and are affiliated with and can receive funding support from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).

As a member, you can play a vital role in ensuring an inclusive environment where all are valued, included, and empowered to succeed. 


Why should I join?

Benefits of joining an Affinity Group include the opportunity for:

  • Professional development and networking;

  • A collective voice and relationship with ODI;

  • A role in fostering a community of support, respect and advancement;

  • Engagement in recruitment and retention efforts; and

  • Broadening cultural awareness on campus.


Getting Started

If you have an idea for a new Affinity Group, here's how to get started:

Group Charter

Each Affinity Group should include a Group Charter which should include the following:

  • A mission statement – a brief statement of what you want the affinity group to represent and accomplish; its purpose and reason for existing.

  • Value proposition – clearly defined benefits that faculty and staff will receive by joining and participating within the affinity group.

  • Goals/Objectives – the goals and objectives should align and support the University's Strategic PlanThe Plan for Pitt: Making a Difference Together, Academic Years 2016-2020.  They should communicate both the Pitt and the affinity group’s core values and common interests.


Each affinity group should have a defined Leadership Team to include:

  • Chair – this individual leads and oversees the function of the group.The Chair helps ensure that the Group Charter is supported and outcomes are successful and work directly with the ODI advisor.The Chair is also responsible for meeting with leadership to provide reporting on the group’s metrics.

  • Vice Chair – individual(s) that assist and/or act in the absence of the Chair to oversee the function of the group.The Vice Chair helps ensure that the Group Charter is supported and outcomes are successful.

  • Secretary – individual that takes the minutes, sends out the agenda, schedules meetings, and submits quarterly and budget reports to the ODI Advisor on behalf of the leadership.

  • ODI Advisor – individual(s) in the ODI that provides guidance and advise the group on day to day items/initiatives and act as the liaison to the Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion.


Each Affinity Group should develop committees and assign committee chairs or co-chairs to each based on the goals and objectives of the group, including the following: 

  • Budget – responsible for maintaining the overall budget for the group with the oversight of the leadership, including providing budget proposals and reports to leadership for quarterly reporting to the ODI. All requests for funding to ODI require documentation.

  • Community Relations – assist in forming relationships with internal communities and other affinity groups, but also developing partnerships with the local external diverse communities of Pitt.

  • Marketing/Branding – assist with website upkeep, developing marketing/branding collateral, and social media exposure.

  • Professional Development – assist with development of programming and/or workshops that assist in the development of faculty and staff, mentorships, assist in the onboarding of new participants within the group and Pitt at large.


Each Affinity Group should develop the following items consistent with the goals and objectives. Each can be stand alone or joint partnership with internal and external organizations.  

  • Events – this can be social or professional and can also be an inclusive event exclusively for the faculty and staff participants of the group or include all faculty, staff, and students across the university.In addition, each group will have a signature event that will be a partnership with the ODI.

  • General Body Meetings – a meeting with all faculty and staff participants to discuss assigned agenda items and present new business initiatives and/or close out old ones.

  • Programming – this can be a series of workshops or events focused on a specific area aligned with the focus of the group.

  • Workshops - a meeting or training at which the group engages in discussion and activity on a particular subject or project aligned with the goals and objectives of the group. 


Each Affinity Group will be responsible for submitting a report twice a year that consist of the following:

  • Calendar – calendar of past and future initiatives.Past initiatives should include survey feedback. A template will be provided and can be customized to meet the needs of the event/program.

  • Participant report - active/non-active faculty and staff members.

  • Scorecard – scorecard that tracks level of participation of faculty and staff at initiatives and general body meetings and measure level of engagement of ongoing participation within the group.

Executive Support

Committing an executive champion or sponsorship creates clear lines of communication between  Affinity Groups and the University's commitment to diversity.  Here's how the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) can play a part in the commitment and success of Pitt's Affinity Groups:

  • Provides guidance and financial support to all Affinity Groups;
  • Assists in the development of new Affinity Groups;
  • Assists in any relaunch or rebranding of existing Affinity Groups;
  • Provides ongoing mentorship to all. 

The ODI will assign an ODI Advisor to each Affinity Group to provide day to day advice and act as the liaison to the Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion. Funding requests will be submitted to ODI for review and approval. 


Existing Affinity Groups at Pitt

To learn more about Pitt's existing Affinity Groups click here.

Our Affinity Groups include:

  • Equipoise
  • Chinese Affinity Group (CAG)
  • Hispanic and Latino Professional Association (HLPA) 
  • Pitt's LGBTQIA+ Affinity Group


We want our Affinity Groups to grow!

If you have an idea for a new Affinity Group please contact Lisa Garland at 412-648-7873 or email at  Please click here for a PDF handout of this information or for a copy of our Affinity Groups Flyer click here.