Please help us build a community of encouragers by being encouraging; please help us build a community of respect by being respectful; and please help us build a community of honor by being honoring and honorable.
People from places across the nation and the world call our Robotics Lab home. People from all backgrounds, beliefs, and walks of life gather here to research and discover. While this can be obvious, we think it is important to explicitly state that we aim to foster the kind of environment that helps people feel not tolerated, but welcomed and supported in all of our spaces and events in the Robotics Lab, from the Assembly and Prototype Room to the Lab Socials. Whether you’re in your individual lab group or in the greater Robotics Lab group, you should feel safe, respected, and upheld by our structure especially whenever you’re around other members of our Robotics Community.
We make space for informing ourselves about where our co-scholars come from, having conversations about diversity and inclusion, and integrating these values into our lab to create a healthy research environment. For example, the lab created a library of books at intersections of diversity, inclusion, and technology and created a book club and online channel where lab residents are encouraged to read and discuss these topics. When the library opened, Professor Radhika Nagpal said:
“We so often focus on outreach, but what we need even more is inreach. One of the biggest barriers to anti-racism/sexism/classism is that fact that most people who are in the default system are ignorant and silent. The two go together because having knowledge gives us solid ground on which to take action, and having a community with shared knowledge creates the capacity for courageous action. Our Robotics Community has the rare opportunity of being designed almost from scratch. I hope that reading and self-reflecting will be part of our joint culture.”
Diversity in all forms is necessary for driving innovation and excellence in research and education. To maximize our effectiveness as researchers, we need to pull from all kinds of backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints to have a strong amount of input going into analyzing problems and developing solutions. Therefore, part of being a good researcher is working to eliminate barriers to inclusion and success in these spaces in order to get as many valuable and relevant voices in the room as possible to increase our effectiveness. As Princeton University’s informal motto says, we are here “in service of humanity.” We are not here for some humanity, but all humanity which means we must consider all humanity, not just some humanity, throughout the research process from ideation to experimentation to analysis and beyond.
Thank you for upholding our community values. We appreciate you joining us!