Employee Resource Groups: Ubuntu embraces Afro-Caribbean culture

Employee Resource Groups: Ubuntu embraces Afro-Caribbean culture

By Life@TheU

Employee Resource Groups: Ubuntu embraces Afro-Caribbean culture

By Life@TheU

 

Whether you’re new to the University of Miami or you’re looking to meet new co-workers, the University’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) present opportunities to explore collaborative networks centered around a dimension of diversity, allowing you to make a positive impact within the University community. With support from Human Resources and a shared goal of enhancing the University’s culture of belonging, ERGs are open to all employees.

This week Ubuntu hosted its first event of the year, a cooking lesson and tasting of ethnic foods. Fifteen University employees arrived ready to cook, donned their aprons, and began chopping vegetables to help prepare the dishes for the night. The demonstration—led by current UM graduate student and chef, Andreu Silverman—focused on teaching employees how to prepare a series of Afro-Caribbean dishes and marinades, while allowing them to work together to prepare the shared meal.

Established in 2014 by Thabo Nyathi and Titanya Ramsingh Pierce, the Ubuntu ERG was created to foster a culture of belonging and inclusion for those who have an interest in African and Caribbean culture at the University. The group serves as a platform for employees who are interested in  engaging with one another around topics of interest to the UM Afro-Caribbean community.  

“When the first ERGs were introduced in 2013, we saw there was a gap that needed to be filled for employees of Afro-Caribbean heritage,” said Pierce. “What we now have through Ubuntu is this great space where we can come together to build friendships and learn from each other outside of our everyday office spaces.”

The philosophy of Ubuntu comes from a way of defining humanity in Southern Africa, which translates to “I exist because you exist, if you are not well, I am not well”—a phrase that epitomizes the culture of belonging at the University.

 

After a brief introduction by Silverman, it took almost no time for the cooking-lesson participants to explode in conversation as the dishes were prepared and popped into the ovens. Everyone was eager to get involved or lend a hand. From marinating the chickens, to chopping the vegetables, everyone was included in the creation of the meal. The finished culinary treats included jerk chicken, churrasco, and milk rice, along with a variety of delicious sides that everyone hungrily enjoyed together as the night concluded.  

Brenda Louard, Ubuntu’s co-leader and the event planner for the tasting, was ecstatic about the turnout for her first event with the ERG. “I’ve gotten to do so many things I’ve never done before, just from this one event,” she said. “There is a mutual learning that happens when we are all connected like this, and I can’t wait to plan our next event!”

Looking to get involved?

For more information on future events and to be notified of outreach opportunities, email WEP@miami.edu.

In addition to Ubuntu, the University is home to seven ERGs. For more information on the active groups or how to start your own, visit hr.miami.edu/erg and follow Life@TheU for ERG spotlights and features.