How to Establish an Affinity Group


Affinity groups build shared community amongst individuals with similar personal or professional interests based upon mutual understanding and/or identity. In support of Syracuse University’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) provides guidance to staff, faculty, or students who would like to form an affinity group.


To establish an affinity group, please following the steps below:

  1. Identify affinity group leadership it is recommended that leadership consist of no more than one to two individuals. The leadership will work to maintain and manage the group, set the agenda for meetings, lead planning activities, send
  2. Develop a mission/vision statement – define what the group’s purpose, what it does and what it seeks to do long-term.
  3. Determine a group name – ideally the name of the group will communicate who and how the group serves e.g. Black staff affinity group. However, feel free to be creative.
  4. Establish goals and objectives – identify three to five things the group seeks to accomplish. Ensure that the goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
  5. Register your affinity group with ODI
  6. Complete the annual affinity group assessment – each academic year, ODI will issue an email to the affinity group leadership team to identify opportunities for support and assess the group’s impact.


Once an affinity group has been established, the below are suggested best practices for managing and maintaining a successful affinity group:

Recruit members identity those on campus who might benefit from the affinity group and establish a plan to invite them to join the group.

Create an engagement schedule – determine how often the group will meet and maintain a consistent schedule.

Organize social opportunities – as part of the engagement schedule, include dedicated time for social activities.

Partner with ODI – contact ODI for changes in leadership, mission/vision, and to discuss opportunities and challenges.