Picture perfect

Creating a wall for Ferris' founding father

Ferris faculty members are spending their free time working on a project in hopes of highlighting Ferris’ idea of inclusion using selfies and social media.

“We had wanted to use the wall space outside of the Office of International Education [OIE] and across from the Center for Latino Studies to create an art installation that celebrations the vision of our founders, the diversity of our campus community and, more importantly, how we value inclusion,” Ferris OIE assistant director Lisa vonReichbauer said.

The OIE has collaborated with Ferris’ Fine Art Gallery and the Center for Latin@ studies to create the Inclusion Project. The Inclusion Project is going to include selfies of students, faculty, alumni and former staff. These selfies will be put together to create the image of Woodbridge and Helen Ferris.

“With the world becoming more integrated and interconnected, there has been growing conflict in our collective vision for the future here and around the world,” Ferris OIE executive director Piram Prakasam said. “If you look back, our world has become more divisive, national and local discourses less civil, some communities less tolerant of others than before.”

This project is an attempt to highlight Ferris’ inclusive vision and show how the university today falls in line with the vision of its founders.

“It’s great to be a part of this portrait where we honor the father of Ferris,” Ferris biology senior Yahsumar Bhalala said.

Bhalala not only included himself in this project, but took part in helping create this piece by walking around campus collecting selfies for the wall, saying he had fun with the project.

The idea of the Inclusion Wall is to bring to life by the African philosophy of “Ubuntu” through the images of Woodbridge and Helen. The best translation of the philosophy, according to vonReichbauer, is “I am who I am because of who we all are.”

“Calling it as the ‘Inclusion Wall,’ we focus on the idea that walls do not need to separate us,” Prakasam said. “It can showcase the best in us. By calling it an inclusion wall, we address the division sowed between peoples in a positive, uplifting way by making the wall outside our office as a symbol of our inclusion using the images of each individuals.”

To help create the inclusion piece, Michigan artist Al Wildey has been commissioned to put the selfies together to form Woodbridge and Helen.

“Our university founder once said, ‘The World is one big family,’” Prakasam said. “Our Ferris family is diverse and yet at the same time is inclusive. Our future is a world that is interconnected and integrated. We live in a global society and we are all in it together.”

According to Prakasam, the OIE is hoping to have the Inclusion Project ready for an unveiling in late April or early May 2019.

The deadline to submit your selfie to participate in the project is Saturday, Jan. 12.

How to be a part of the Inclusion Wall:

Option One:

1. Take a selfie
2. Post your selfie in the comment section of the pinned post on their Facebook page, “Ferris State University International.” Include your first and last name and any of these hashtags that apply: #Ferrisstudent #Ferrisfaculty #Ferrisstaff #Ferrisalumni #InclusionWall

Option Two:

1. Email your photo in JPG format to inclusionwallproject@nullgmail.com. The subject of the email should include your first and last name.
2. Complete the electronic form at this link: https://goo.gl/forms/304yPQNPPgPREFG83