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Affinity Groups FAQ

Affinity Groups encourage community members to gather based on common interests such as discipline, technology interests/needs or proximity. Below are some frequently asked questions about Affinity Groups. 

Q: What is an Affinity Group?

  • A group that encourages focused collaboration in areas where there is common interest.

Q: What are the benefits of Affinity Groups?

  • Extra touchpoint when new members join the research computing community.

  • Lightweight partitioning of the community into smaller, more accessible subsets when the need arises.

  • Communication tools such as auto-generated email lists, slack channels, and Ask.CI locales.

  • Organic leadership opportunities for career-building.

Q: Who can request to join an affinity group? 

  • Anyone with an account on this or any other Connect.Cyberinfrastructure Portal. See the Connect CI homepagefor a complete list of portals.

Q: Who approves the request to join an affinity group?

  • Type 1 - Anyone can join.

  • Type 2 (Coming soon!) - Anyone can request to join, but request must be approved by the affinity group coordinator.

Q: What affinity groups exist now? 

  • Visit Affinity Groups on the Campus Champions Portal for a complete list

Q: How do I create a new affinity group?

  • Submit an Affinity Group request form

  • Affinity Group creation requests will be reviewed and approved within 5 working days of the submission.

Q: How do I invite people to join my affinity group once it has been created?

  • Type 1

    • Send a notice to colleagues, mailing lists, etc of people that might be interested and invite them to join by clicking "Join" in the the affinity group listing. They will appear on the affinity group listing immediately after clicking.

  • Type 2 (Coming soon!)

    • Same as above except that they will not appear in the affinity group as a member until an Affinity Group Coordinator has approved the request.

Q: What are the expectations of an affinity group coordinator?

  • Welcome new members to the affinity group and to the broader community (as applicable).

  • Ensure group is engaged, and contributing to the broader community through any means or mechanism that works for the group - zoom calls, slack channel, email list, Ask.CI locale or other. Send a request via the Help Desk if you need assistance with setting up any of these communications channels.

  • Identify/Organize networking events when budget is available (contact Campus Champions staff for more information)

Q: What are the expectations of an affinity group member?

  • Engage with and contribute to the group's effort. 

Q: How do I leave an affinity group?

  • Click the "Leave" button again to leave the affinity group and it will revert to "Join". The departure will be reflected in auto-generated mailing list within 2 business days. 

Q: Do Affinity Groups last forever?

  • Affinity Groups can be phased out if they are no longer useful/active by sending an Affinity Group phase out request to the Help Desk. Once a year in January, all affinity groups will be asked to confirm two leaders for the subsequent year. They can be the same leaders as in the previous year as long as they are re-confirmed at renewal. If an affinity group is not able to confirm two leaders, it will be phased out. 

Evolution from Regional Champions

Affinity Groups are an expansion of the Regional Champion Program, which itself was built upon the principles and goals of the XSEDE Champion Program. The Regional Champion network facilitates education and training opportunities for researchers, faculty, students and staff in their region that help them make effective use of local, regional and national digital resources and services. Additionally, the Regional Champion Program provides oversight and assistance in a predefined geographical region to ensure that all Champions in that region receive the information and assistance they require, as well as establish a bi-directional conduit between Champions in the region and the XSEDE champion staff, thus ensuring a more efficient dissemination of information, allowing finer grained support. Finally, the Regional Champions acts as a regional point of contact and coordination, to assist in scaling up the Champion program by working with the champion staff to coordinate and identify areas of opportunity for expanding outreach to the user community.


Champion Institution Deputy Champion Institution Region
Ben Nickell Idaho National Labs Nick Maggio University of Oregon 1
Ruth Marinshaw Stanford University Aaron Culich University of California, Berkeley 2
Kevin Brandt South Dakota State University       3
Dan Andresen Kansas State University BJ Lougee Federal Reserve Bank Of Kansas City CADRE   4
Mark Reed University of North Carolina     5
Scott Hampton University of Notre Dame     6
Scott Yockel Harvard University Scott Valcourt Northeastern University 7
Anita Orendt University of Utah Shelley Knuth University of Colorado 8