By Marissa Payne, The Daily Iowan
After a particularly contentious election cycle in 2016, the University of Iowa community is turning to visual aides to push for a truly inclusive campus.
UI officials say they strive to foster an atmosphere on campus that is accepting and welcoming of students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Students, however, are making a statement to acknowledge that although the UI is working toward inclusion, in light of last year’s events, the onus is on the entire UI community to play its part in speaking out against discrimination.
Through two contrasting video campaigns, the UI community evaluates the reality of the campus climate surrounding diversity and looks to the ideal it hopes to attain.
You Are Welcome Here
Whether students board a plane and fly overseas or drive an hour across the state to attend the UI, the community wants students to know they are welcome here.
More than 200 universities across the United States have participated in the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, using social-media videos and statements to convey the message that their institutions are “diverse, friendly, safe, and committed to student development,” according to the campaign’s website.
Amy Brewster, the UI International Programs assistant director of communications and relations who was part of the creative team behind the making of the video, said in an email to The Daily Iowan that the reaction to the “You Are Welcome Here” video has been positive.
“We have been so pleased with the positive response we’ve gotten from the university surrounding community,” she said. “Several students, UI departments, and community groups have posted the video to the websites or shared the video through their own social media platforms.”
Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton, UI President Bruce Harreld, and UI Student Government Vice President Lilián Sánchez were a few of the people who appeared in the UI’s #YouAreWelcomeHere video.