In This Together: Lessons Learned from UNH Extension’s Pilot DEIJA Training for Volunteers – 2022 Governor’s Conference on Volunteerism

Session Description:

Volunteers are critical parts of the fabric of our organizations. Is your organization interested in becoming a more diverse, equitable, inclusive, just, and accessible (DEIJA) organization? Is it including volunteers in those efforts? This session will introduce a UNH Extension pilot program designed to draw volunteers into its efforts to become a more welcoming and culturally competent organization.

This session will review elements of the Extension volunteer training program and share how volunteers have responded and lessons learned by the program team. Participants will be invited to consider and apply these lessons to their own programs.

Session Goals:

By the end of this session, participants will have learned: 

  • Key concepts to include in DEIJA trainings for volunteers; 
  • Methods that are suitable for volunteer-oriented trainings on DEIJA topics; 
  • Important elements to consider when setting up DEIJA training for volunteers.



Julia Peterson has worked with New Hampshire Sea Grant and the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension for over 25 years. Her work currently focuses on helping coastal community leaders protect water resources and build resilience to the effects of a changing climate. Peterson has a special interest in project design and evaluation, cross-disciplinary approaches, and integrating greater diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility into her work.

Ruth Smith manages the UNH Extension Master Gardener volunteer program, providing training and support to adults who then share the science and joy of gardening through educational and community service gardens.  Prior to coming to Extension in 2018, Ruth trained and managed volunteer educators at several environmental organizations and historical museums in central New Hampshire.