Our Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI)
Justice, equity, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to the culture and mission of the Student Conservation Association (SCA). We embrace diversity and strive to foster an organizational culture that demonstrates inclusiveness and multiculturalism. As we pursue our mission of building conservation leaders, the SCA will continue to engage young people from all backgrounds and abilities. We seek the broadest possible range of voices, perspectives, and experiences among our staff, board and other stakeholders. By empowering each individual and appreciating their unique identities, we endow the organization with greater collaboration, innovation, and wisdom and advance as an institution and agent of change.
The Pursuit of Improvement
The SCA applies resources and expertise to urgent ecological issues, including climate change, environmental justice, and equitable access, while protecting and preserving our natural, cultural and historical resources. In doing so, we believe our differences – when embraced with awareness, self-reﬂection, care and respect – drive better decisions, increase performance and create a culture where everyone can comfortably be themselves.
What We are Doing
Our board, staff and youth leaders have engaged with external experts to build a shared understanding of systemic inequities impacting the SCA, including race, class, power and privilege. We continue to assess how our work is affected by, and perpetuates, systems and structures of oppression. We have expanded JEDI training and embedded these values into our organizational strategic plan as we work toward eradicating systemic inequities.
To better understand the biases affecting our members, alumni, and communities and how we can address entrenched oppression, the SCA established a JEDI Working Group. This internal team of SCA staff advises our Executive Team on matters of equity and better integrate JEDI practices into the organization’s culture.
The SCA has decades of experience connecting urban youth to nature while providing career skills and outdoor readiness. Our Urban Green initiative provides young people with paid green jobs, including single-day service projects, seasonal work and year-long internships or fellowships. Urban Green programs are active in cities across the country, including Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Newark, New York, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Career Discovery Internship Program
Since 2008, the SCA has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide summer internships for hundreds of students from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds. This award-winning initiative has provided participants with valuable career experience while aiding the agency in fielding a workforce that better reﬂects the American mosaic.
In 2021, the SCA partnered with the United Parcel Service (UPS) to launch our first aﬃnity crew in Atlanta consisting of self-identifying African American youth. Together, the SCA and UPS are elevating youth voices and engaging the next generation of conservation leaders in building a more resilient nation with equitable access to green spaces.