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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Water Engineering Group Discussions: Lessons Learned and Future Work
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  • Abdul-Rashid Zakaria,
  • Achira Amur,
  • Michael Burns,
  • Danielle Holt,
  • Sarah Godschall,
  • Madhat Fares,
  • Amanda Garzio-Hadzick,
  • Smith Virginia,
  • Bridget Wadzuk
Abdul-Rashid Zakaria
Civil and Environmental Engineering
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Achira Amur
Villanova University
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Michael Burns
Villanova University
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Danielle Holt
Villanova University
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Sarah Godschall
Villanova University
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Madhat Fares
Villanova University
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Amanda Garzio-Hadzick
Villanova University
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Smith Virginia
Villanova University
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Bridget Wadzuk
Villanova University
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Abstract

The UN identified water as a human right in 2010; however, the bodies analyzing and designing water management often do not represent a diverse spectrum of the populations they serve. Villanova Center for Resilient Water Systems (VCRWS) research focuses on supplying resilient and sustainable solutions to global water and stormwater challenges. A diverse team of faculty, staff and students created a group that discusses diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the context of water resources engineering and associated design and solution considerations. The group has discussed a wide array of topics through the biweekly meetings. Some benefits of this group included the opportunity for personal growth and development, education on incorporating DEI into engineering thought, and re-education on DEI issues. This group served as a mechanism for members to share their grief and concerns over the political, social, and environmental issues that impede positive change. Outputs from this group include (1) competing in the Schiller Challenge through writing a paper on DEI in water engineering as a group, (2) drawing an action plan to further incorporate DEI in the activities of VCRWS through research, symposiums, conferences, public outreach programs, articles and papers, and engineering education, and (3) creating a guideline for creating DEI groups in other departments, research centers and institutions. This presentation will discuss lessons learned from creating and implementing a successful DEI focused working group within the water resource research center and will include some of the future work planned by the VCRWS group, such as incorporating DEI into the Water and Environmental Engineering curriculum through curating audiovisual materials on DEI concepts, and case studies of successes stories of DEI.