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Monday, December 22, 2008

Black Googlers Network: building community

We believe great ideas can come from anywhere and everyone. And we aspire to be an organization that reflects global diversity, because we know that a world's worth of perspectives, ideas and cultures leads to the creation of better products and services. We have more than a dozen employee-driven resource groups, from Gayglers to GWE (Google Women Engineers), that actively participate around the world in building community and driving policy at Google. This is the next post in our Interface series, which takes a look at valuing people's similarities and differences in the workplace. For more information on how Google fosters an inclusive work environment, visit Life at Google on our Jobs site. – Ed.

It's been a busy few months for the Black Googlers Network (BGN). One of our group's core goals is to build a community that keeps us connected, facilitates the sharing of ideas, and participates in community outreach. We sponsored a variety of events this fall across many of our offices, giving us the opportunity to give back and have some fun while doing it.

To kick things off, a group of us from the Mountain View, New York, Ann Arbor, Chicago and Atlanta offices, to name a few, rolled up our sleeves for our first annual service trip. We headed to New Orleans in September to aid in the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts. Undeterred by Hurricane Gustav, which unexpectedly hit the coast the week before we arrived, we managed to make some adjustments to flights and itineraries and were some of the first volunteers back into the city.

We partnered with the St. Bernard Project, learning everything from how to lay flooring to installing drywall as we worked on three homes. Additionally, we joined a strategy session with The Idea Village, helping them kick off their newest initiative, the 504ward Project. The opportunity to serve the community in such a meaningful way while getting to know BGN members was unique. We each put our minds, bodies, and souls into the city and the experience.

Next, BGN participated in the United Negro College Fund's annual Walk-a-thon in Oakland, CA. Our Google-UNCF partnership also includes an annual scholarship for college students pursing a degree in engineering or computer science, and we're continuing to explore different ways to support and encourage underrepresented students.

This month, we're coming together in many of our offices for the holidays, giving ourselves a chance to catch up and take stock of the work we've done over the past year. Not to be slowed down for too long, though, as we will soon begin the exciting process of planning our new initiatives for 2009.

Announced by Alexa Bush, University Programs Team

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