Main content
Strengthening campus community through employee resource groups
EPEN employees with Dooley

Emory Pride Employee Network (EPEN) members pose with a decorated Dooley statue at a summer Pride event held on campus.

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are relatively new to Emory University, but they have been making a big impact on campus, helping to foster stronger social connections and a sense of belonging within the university community. 

The ERGs are voluntary, employee-led groups established around common interests, purpose and characteristics, typically for underrepresented identities and their allies. They aim to create a supportive and inclusive community at Emory. 

In 2022, Emory launched its first two ERGs, the Emory Black Employee Network (EBEN) and Emory Pride Employee Network (EPEN), as a pilot project to gauge overall interest. Both ERGs greatly exceeded expectations in terms of membership and programming. 

Melissa Morgan, senior manager of recognition and engagement, admits she was surprised by the immediate success of the groups.

“We knew that we wanted to create opportunities for employees with shared identities and experiences to come together, but we did not yet fully understand the need and appetite for these groups,” explains Morgan, who serves as coordinator and administrative liaison for the ERGS. “We were hoping to start with 25 committed employees for each group, but that quickly multiplied, and today, we have over 340 members in EPEN and 820 in EBEN.” 

Based on this success, Emory established three more ERGs in 2023: Emory Latinx Employee Resource Network (eLERN), Emory Veterans Employee Network (EVEN) and Emory Asian Pacific Islander and Desi Employee Network (eAPDEN). There are plans to develop an additional ERG for employees with disabilities later this year. 

All the ERGs are led by two voluntary co-chairs who serve two-year terms. The co-chairs are supported by an executive sponsor and their employee-led committees. Each ERG establishes its own mission, vision and values, and determines the program offerings.

“It’s a grassroots effort,” Morgan says. 

ERGs strengthen the campus community in numerous ways. They foster a sense of belonging by providing a safe space where employees feel welcome at work. They create a sense of community by gathering people with similar interests and purposes, which leads to trust and engagement. They also provide opportunities for networking and professional development. 

Micah Tucker with Emory College and current co-chair of EBEN says his experience with the ERG has allowed him to grow both personally and professionally.

“I started off as a member within EBEN, then led a sub-committee and now I’m serving as a co-chair. Being a part of this ERG has provided me with an opportunity to build community and capacity for myself and others,” Tucker says. “I have strengthened my delegation and communication skills, collaborated with other employees whom I likely would not have had an opportunity to work with otherwise and I have advanced professionally here at Emory.”

Looking ahead to 2024 

To date, these groups have actively engaged more than 1,300 faculty and staff. Each ERG has robust programming planned for 2024, including social events, volunteer projects, panel discussions and professional development workshops. Here are just a few highlights: 

“We hope that we can create a community where Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi employees feel celebrated and affirmed at Emory,” says Amanda Yu-Nguyen of Oxford College and co-chair of eAPDEN. “Our community is diverse, and we know that it’s not one-size-fits-all, so as the newest ERG, we have been taking time to listen to members as we plan for the year ahead.” 

For an up-to-date listing of upcoming events, check out the ERG calendar.

How to get involved 

Emory University’s ERGs are open to all faculty and staff — those who identify with the groups as well as allies.

For more information about the ERGs, visit the employee resource groups page. Click the “Learn more” button for the group you’re interested in. Individual group pages share details about the group’s mission and vision, co-leaders and events. Click the “Get involved” button to access the interest form for that ERG. Employees are welcome to join more than one ERG.

EBEN employees

Members of Emory Black Employee Network (EBEN) at a summer picnic held for members and their families.

Recent News