A message of love

Campus organizations band together to create banner promoting inclusivity

Ferris business administration junior Ahn Ngo (left) and criminal justice sophomore Jessica Erlandson helped run the booth where students could write messages of welcome and encouragement. Photo by: Aubrey Kemme | Multimedia Editor

“You are welcomed and you are loved,” read one of the post-it notes on the banner created by the Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS), the Office of International Education and the Center for Latin@ Studies.

The Director of the Center for Latin@ Studies Kaylee Moreno organized an event where students had the opportunity to write notes of encouragement and inclusion to their peers Thursday, Feb. 2.

“The major thing that we want to put forward is that international students, domestic students, minority students—we’re all in the same boat,” said secretary for the Office of International Education Sylvia Maixner.

With President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders toward refugees and immigrants, students feel there is a degree of uncertainty surrounding the futures of international students and international study.

“I think that [Trump] thinks he’s doing the right thing for the country but I don’t think that he’s considering the bigger impact,” said President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and Ferris human resource management student Victoria Mason. “It just seems like it affects people onsuch a personal, individual level, and I don’t think that’s being thought about.”

According to Ferris’ 2015-16 Fact Book, exactly one international student last year was from any of the seven countries being temporarily barred from entering the United States.

“As far as this executive order, we don’t really have any that are being directly impacted, it’s more of a fear,” Maixner said.

The message that the banner intended to send was one of love and inclusion, according to Maixner.

“You are here as Ferris State University students and we as a staff and faculty want you here,”Maixner said. “We care about what your upbringing is. We care about your religion, because we care about you. And no matter what, you are welcomed here.”

OMSS, as well as several other organizations and offices on campus, have implemented an open-door policy for any students feeling in need of support or guidance.

“We’re here to advocate for them, to be a listening ear, but also to help them champion some issue that they might be handling,” said OMSS Director Michael Wade.

The advice given to students all over campus is simply to reach out and try to understand the mindset of those that are different.

“Nothing is going to help you understand what a Muslim American goes through better than getting to know a Muslim American,”Maixner said. “There’s no harm in it. All you can do is show the Ferris spirit of inclusion and togetherness.”