A campaign to start a dialogue regarding inclusivity at the University of Connecticut is currently being dispersed among students and faculty.
A year-and-a-half was spent creating the video and poster series of the UConn WeAreU campaign, which depicts black and white portraits of UConn students and quotes related to engagement in the UConn community, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Eleanor Daugherty said.
The videos and posters of the WeAreU campaign, which feature UConn students, are meant to affirm that “every student is here for a reason,” Daugherty said.
“We want to support the students who feels alone on campus,” Daugherty said. “Students should know they’re meant to be here when they wake up in the morning.”
Students who participated in the making of the WeAreU campaign’s videos and posters were pleased to do so, according to Daugherty.
“The people you see [in the videos and on the posters] expressed interest in being involved in this,” Daugherty said.
Students involved in constructing the videos and posters of the WeAreU campaign were vital to the generation of their content as well.
“The joy of this campaign is students talking about what matters to them. The scripts were not written by marketers,” Daugherty said.
Daugherty also discussed the videos with a student advisory committee.
“This was a meaningful experience for me, because I just facilitated,” Daugherty said. “It was students asking, ‘What do I need to say to other students?’”
The WeAreU campaign will initiate a conversation about the ideals of the university, Daugherty said.
“This is a starting point for us to re-center the values of our university,” Daugherty said. “We can provoke conversation on campus with this campaign.”
The WeAreU Campaign unambiguously voices UConn’s principles.
“The university is really committed to having hard conversations when we need to. We are a value-based campus,” Daugherty said. “We shouldn’t shy away from difficult situations.”
Daugherty described one video as “a single student walking up Mansfield Way. As she walks, people pile up behind her, saying, ‘You’re not alone.’”
“I’m amazed by how many people, such as students and professors, showed up and became involved in [the video’s] filming,” Daugherty said.
Many faculty members—including deans, the president and the provost—have also collaborated on the WeAreU campaign, Daugherty said.
“The videos have been shared with my colleagues broadly across campus,” Daugherty said.
One of the videos was utilized by the Student Union prior to several events during Husky WOW, Daugherty said.
“I’m proud students’ feelings are being addressed,” Daugherty said.
Though questions exist about the poster portion of the WeAreU campaign continuing, the video segment of the campaign is complete and already being distributed throughout campus, Daugherty said.
“This will saturate the university with a sincere message about what it means to be UConn,” Daugherty said, arguing the WeAreU campaign will aid in each and every UConn student recognizing their importance to and at the university.
“We go to UConn not just to be smart, but to be better. This is the university’s universal commitment to students,” Daugherty said.
Another goal of the WeAreU campaign is to inspire UConn students to have high aspirations for themselves both during and after attending UConn, Daugherty said.
“I hope people ask, ‘What do I do next? What’s my role?’”, Daugherty said.
Students interested in WeAreU can watch the video that the campaign has uploaded to YouTube.
Alexandra Retter is a campus correspodent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.