Poster promotes unity and inclusiveness on campus

The poster has been getting attention across Kent State University. 

The poster has been getting attention across Kent State University. 

Hannah Wagner

Kent State University’s School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration (FLA) adopted a poster that has spread throughout campus because of its supportive message of inclusion.

Kim Schimmel, professor and director of the school of FLA, modified and promoted the poster that originally came from the University of Kentucky as a “dear students” campaign that was picked up by Stark campus.

Schimmel said she got started on the project immediately, seeking approval from Denise Seachrist, dean of the Kent State Stark campus, and the University of Kentucky before beginning to work with the Faculty Advisory Board and Chelsea Donovan, a graduate assistant at FLA, to design the poster.

“I wanted to make sure [students] knew KSU supports them,” Schimmel said. “I wanted to align with the university’s values. I’m proud to show them.”

Schimmel said she personalized the poster by changing the statement under the international students section from “Your future is bright” to “You are welcome here”, and adding QIA to LGBT.

Donovan put it together by following the Kent State’s branding guidelines.

“I was really excited to be a part of it,” Donovan said. “Just to be promoting something that has that context to create an understanding.”

Bella Grossi, senior public relations major, said she had seen the poster on several friend’s Snapchats before deciding to share it on Twitter.

“It’s a perfect time for that poster to be shared,” Gossi said. “It shows what an accepting school Kent is, and it made me feel great so many people wanted to share it.”

Gossi’s Tweet, saying “I love my school. #KentState” with a picture of the poster attached, received over 135 retweets and 377 likes from students, professors and others unaffiliated with Kent State. Gossi said she was happy to engage with so many people and help support everyone, even if it was through social media.

Rachel Aul, an intern for the LGBTQ Center, said since Kent is a public university and liberal arts college, it should be inclusive, and the poster is a way to show that.

“I think it’s necessary for the current political time,” Aul said. “I see a lot of diversity around campus and would like to keep it that way.”

Schimmel said she sent examples to other directors in the college to put up in their areas and created tiny postcards of the poster for professors to use for recruiting and classes.

“Immediately people began coming to my office saying thanks,” Schimmel said. “I’m very glad to see it has such positive feedback.”

Linda Robertson, director of the Center for International and Intercultural Education, said the university has worked very hard to foster inclusiveness on campus.

“What you hear on the national news is, ‘Are you really welcome here?’ ” Robertson said. “I think there is pride being here at Kent State and the diversity exists and the respect that we have for each other.”

Robertson encourages students to “think beyond the news” and seek understanding and respect for each other.

Schimmel said she was inspired to bring the poster to main campus after the Women’s March on Jan. 21.

“There were so many signs — that’s the way to communicate these days,” she said.

Schimmel said she understands people may feel left out and students should look for a revised version of the poster soon.

This poster was a sincere way to show support for students, she said, and hopes other faculty and staff members will take initiative to show support as well.

Hannah Wagner is the Education, Health and Human services reporter, contact her at [email protected]