You Belong Here promotes inclusion

Maya ObeidContributor

The graphic design department had a message for every student on campus: “You Belong Here.” The posters for this project can be seen on the second floor of Earl Hall.

Assistant professor of graphic design, Alex Girard, tasked students to create a piece of art that would open the doors of inclusion and leave a warm message to every student who sees the posters. They were to make them feel that each and every one of them belonged on this campus.

“What I charged the class with was that I gave them a very simple message which was, ‘you belong here,’” said Girard.

This project was a reaction to an incident in which a poster with allegedly offensive images was posted at the Women’s Studies Program..

“I want to be very careful and very clear that this is not a response to Brett Kavanaugh or anything related to him specially,” said Girard. “That’s a very important distinction because that’s the integrity of our program.”

Girard’s intention was to utilize the students graphic design skills to elevate the visual culture of the campus to be more inclusive.

He gave his students the message and a very simple frame work to follow, and everything was up to the artist’s liking. The only parameters to abide by was that the poster had to be about an inclusive and universal message. The visual challenge was that the poster could be made into anything the artist’s wanted it to be, but it had to make some groups feel included, without the other group feeling excluded.

Girard said that the goal was to make some of those who may have felt excluded by the incident to feel included in this diverse campus.

With each individual poster the artist’s idea of inclusion prevailed with colorful designs and powerful images that would serve to make every student feel more at home.

Han Liu a junior studio art major with a concentration in graphic design who took part in this project.

“It didn’t just apply to the women’s studies situation,” said Liu, “it was prompted from that, but it applies to a broader audience of people who might not feel like they belong and maybe they just needed someone to tell them that they do.”

Liu’s poster can be seen along with the others in Earl Hall. It is the third

to last poster on the first row with the words “You Belong Here” above a flock of birds perched on wires. The image is complimented with soft shades of purple, blue and pink.

Raheem Dawkins, a graphic design major created a poster with the words “U Belong Here” in big letters accompanied by hearts. His design can be seen at the same location in Earl Hall, as the last poster in the second row.

“Everyone deserves to feel welcomed and loved, no one deserves to feel outcasted.” Dawkins said.

The graphic design department set out with a mission to make it clear that inclusion is core to our campus. Without tackling a political dispute, they instead went deeper. They made sure that anyone affected by that incident, or anyone who’s ever come out of any incident feeling isolated shouldn’t. Because they belong here.

Photo Credit: Jeff Lamson

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