Students embrace diversity this Valentine’s Day

Megan Ferguson

Kent State’s Communication in a Global Society class is working on a “Love Notes Service Learning Project” to promote diversity and inclusion this Valentine’s Day.

Stephanie Smith, assistant professor and director of Global Initiatives in the College of Communication and Information (CCI), based the project on the Love Notes For America by Constance Kassor.

The campaign focuses on religious organizations that receive hate mail, with teh project’s goal focusing on showing members of these organizations that they are respected.

Smith wanted to show students that love language can spread just as fast as hate language.

“We must uphold the First Amendment, and we do that best when we understand the ways our First Amendment rights, including our right to worship as we see fit, or to choose not to worship at all,” Smith said.

While the class only required students to make 10 notes, Morgan Franz, a junior communication studies major, accumulated 40 handwritten notes for the religious organization.

Frantz wanted to get as many Valentines as possible, so he reached out to students in his elementary Arabic II class, his fraternity — Sigma Alpha Epsilon — resident assistants in Lake Hall and students at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Frantz said the Muslim community can get a bad reputation.

“Everyone should feel comfortable practicing their religion in safety,” said Alyssa Newuman, a sophomore international relations major.

Neumann created a Valentine for the class. She said she believes that it is important to emphasize the importance of living in a country founded on acceptance and freedom of religion.

“My key message is that you are welcomed in this country,” Frantz said.

Frantz said he will hand deliver his Valentine cards to The Islamic Center of Cleveland on Tuesday. 

Megan Ferguson is the religion reporter, contact her at [email protected].