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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Activities & Organizations

#IAMUH campaign highlights campus diversity


A #IAMUH campaign table will be set up at several University events throughout the year. | Dmitriy Borovykh/The Cougar

A #IAMUH campaign table will appear at several University events throughout the year. | Dmitriy Borovykh/The Cougar

#IAMUH has returned to students’ social media.

On Thursday, the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, in association with the Center for Student Involvement, held a fall kickoff event for the campaign that began last spring.

The campaign’s goal is to highlight diverse, personal anecdotes of UH students, faculty and staff.

“We know that our strength as a university comes from the diversity that we have, and so we bring to light those different stories,” said CDI Program Coordinator Michael Crook.

To participate, members of UH community can place #IAMUH in their social media posts that include an explanation of why they feel like they belong on campus.

“People come, take a picture, then upload their picture with the hashtag #IAMUH, highlighting their individual stories,” Crook said.

Those who have taken a picture and posted it online with the hashtag have received free cake and ice cream. There is also a chance to win prizes, including T-shirts, stickers, pins and selfie sticks.

“The whole purpose of the campaign is not only to celebrate the diversity that we have, but to educate and embrace the diversity, and so you do that by hearing people’s stories,” said CDI Director Niya Blair.

Blair had the intention to create this campaign since she joined CDI in 2014. After the inception of #IAMUH, she has worked to integrate it with other events and initiatives including presentations at summer orientation sessions.

On Sept. 27, President and Chancellor Renu Khator announced the release of the Diversity and Inclusion Statement as a part of the University’s policy. The statement was prepared by the Diversity and Inclusion Work Group, which included representatives of various departments and campus organizations.

“The diversity value statement definitely shows our commitment to the diversity on campus and really appreciating each and every student for what they bring,” said Tina Powellson, director of CSI.

According to the statement, UH is committed to “equity, inclusion and accountability” and is determined to foster “a culture of inclusivity and mutual respect.”

“This statement is monumental,” Blair said. “It puts meat to our phrase that we’re the second-most diverse. It puts meat to our commitment to diversity. It puts it black and white in paper.”

UH has also been a recipient of three INSIGHT into Diversity magazine’s HEED awards, which were granted for outstanding commitment to diversity in education.

“Our students — they deserve to have unique experience,” Powellson said. “They deserve to have faculty members that understand their experiences. And here they’ve folks that are really recognizing and appreciating that value.”

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