P&S Council effort would connect colleagues with similar interests

An effort to offer interest groups for Iowa State employees is moving forward, with the aim to form the groups in the fall.

The idea to create a way for employees to share their out-of-office pursuits with co-workers came from the Professional and Scientific Council's peer advocacy committee, which began working on the project last year.

"You know Reddit? That's my concept. Let people come up with topics they want to connect about and discuss," said committee chair Jacob Larsen, director of the language studies resource center in the world languages and cultures department.

An initial survey offered earlier this year through Adventure2, the university's online well-being program, received about 300 responses, with 85 percent saying they would be interested in joining an interest group.

Based on that response, a second survey posted on Adventure2 this week seeks to determine employee interest in specific categories, including:

  • Books
  • Recreation (walking, running, softball, etc.)
  • Creative arts (knitting, crafting, photography, etc.)
  • Gardening
  • Food
  • Mindfulness
  • Games
  • Parenting

The survey, available through Aug. 16, also is looking for all employees interested in creating, leading or co-leading groups. Respondents also may suggest other potential interest groups.

Larsen said the groups will launch beginning in the fall. At first, they'll likely be organized online, probably on the Canvas learning platform. But the hope is that they'll lead to offline gatherings.

"If you're discussing motorcycling, why wouldn't you meet up to ride together?" Larsen said.