“I love the diversity of our students, and I love that we have over 80 countries represented on our campus. I want to make sure that every one of them knows they are valued here and they are an important member of our community,” said Assistant Director of International Student Services Elizabeth Miller, referring to the Center for International Affairs’ #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign.
The #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign is a nationwide campaign involving more than 300 higher education institutions, including Case Western Reserve University. The campaign, which encourages and promotes diversity and inclusion in campus communities, gathered on March 27 to create “Welcome Stars,” decorations to be placed in the lobby of Tomlinson Hall.
The campaign was initiated at CWRU in January 2017 after the Trump administration issued an executive order which shut off immigration from seven different countries, all in the Middle East. In addition to immigrants, the ban included refugees, but federal courts worked to block the measure.
The move by federal courts mobilized the CWRU community, according to Cami Ross, a coordinator of the #YouAreWelcomeHere program, and led university leaders and students to publicly reject the executive order as well.
“Even if our country doesn’t make them feel welcome here, we wanted to let students know that they are welcome here on campus,” Ross said. “Even though that was a year ago, we still want to revive and keep this message alive; we wanted to keep reminding people that they are important to us and are welcome here, and the whole campus has not forgotten about this.”
#YouAreWelcomeHere has become a part of the CWRU community beyond just the campaign. The diversity of the campus promotes collaborative intellectualism and unites students from all walks of life, while the campaign itself aims to make international students feel personally supported by CWRU.
Students, faculty and staff members are encouraged to send videos and pictures to the Center for International Affairs for the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, which annually produces short video clips. In addition, the organization will hold workshops for international students such as “Know What Your Rights Are,“ among others, throughout the semester.
Its next event will be the Holi Festival on April 7, a traditional event held in India and in other countries in South Asia.