UIS Diversity Center to present ‘We Rise Up’

The Diversity Center will be putting on an all-day event titled “We Rise Up” next Thursday, Nov. 6. The event seeks to bring together the very diverse UIS community.

According to Justin Rose, the Coordinator for Diverse Student Programming, “The event is one that brings unity and identity to the campus.” Rose believes that there has been tension among UIS students regarding race relations and wants to provide students who feel any sort of hostility with an outlet to break those barriers.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Nov. 6, those want to participate can go to the Diversity Center office. There will be a whiteboard on which participants may write messages, and with which they will then be photographed.

Rose would like to spread the effects of the event as far as possible, and plans on using social media to achieve that. Through what he described as a “viral campaign,” Rose explained that “Hopefully it reaches the community at other universities to let them know that they can do the same thing.” Rose also hopes to use the particularly striking messages in student spotlight videos, so students are encouraged to use the opportunity to spread a thoughtful message.

The Diversity Center will also be handing out T-shirts to participating students. The shirts exclaim “We rise up”, with a quote from Chancellor Susan Koch on the back. The Chancellor’s quote reads: “A guiding value of the University of Illinois is that, in all that we do, we will be inclusive, treat each other with dignity and respect, and promote citizenship. We must live this value if we are to achieve our vision to be a premier public university.” The T-shirts will also come in various vibrant colors, which Rose believes will further drive home the diverse nature of the UIS community.

The Diversity Center’s statement on the UIS website reads, “The Diversity Center fosters a supportive environment for students to live, learn and grow as members of the academic community and as individuals. We develop understanding of differences through educational, cultural, and social activities.” Rose hopes that the event will not only inspire the participants to adhere to this code, but also non-participants who see videos and images of the program.