ALANA drawing its name from African, Latino, Asian and Native American would be codified later. The network began its drive for membership with a Super Bowl party, though Thomas admits that membership has a relative lax meaning for the group.
As the network developed, Thomas says there was emphasis on social aspects as well as networking opportunities. We always stressed the importance of coming together as a community at least a couple of times a year.
Admitting that it is sometimes hard to coordinate so many schedules, Thomas says ALANA is a necessary part of creating a diverse network at JMU and showing faculty and staff members that support is always there for them.
Thomas adds that the network helps facilitate smaller gatherings of people beyond official events. ALANA becomes the impetus for smaller pockets of people.
Connections with others are vital at JMU, although a transient university, community can be difficult as colleagues and friends come and go. Still, ALANA remains integral to fostering a sense of community among multicultural faculty and staff at James Madison.