Mural to promote diversity

By Clarissa Hinshaw

DeKALB — A new mural in the Holmes Student Center supporting the One Love NIU campaign aims to promote unity and solidarity.

The mural was unveiled by members of the Student Association in a ceremony March 2 on the ground floor of the Holmes Student Center outside of the HSC Center Cafe in an effort to promote diversity and inclusion on campus. One Love NIU is a social media campaign that began after President Donald Trump was elected in November.

Students posted on social media with the hashtag #OneLoveNIU to describe what diversity, inclusion and love mean to them. The campaign’s success spiked after the inauguration, leading to the creation of the mural.

Anthony Williams, SA director of student life, started One Love NIU after seeing students coming together after the election to show love and support for everyone on campus.

The movement that began with the SA was inspired by other student and faculty events of solidarity on campus.

Williams’s goal for the campaign is to create a positive and unifying feeling on campus, Williams said.

“[Post-election], there were a lot of feelings of uncertainty and ambiguity on campus,” Williams said. “Even though we feel like there’s going to be a lot of feelings in the world and a lot of tensions now rising, we’ve got to focus on making sure NIU is still a positive vibe. We want to make sure we fall into the mission of everyone working together to make our NIU community stronger and better.”

Williams said he believes campaigns are more effective when they do not only exist on social media. He wanted the campaign to be intersectional so it affects more students. One Love NIU supporters are responsible for the chalk drawings with positive messages such as “love grows at NIU” throughout campus, and Williams said he is grateful for the shoutouts.

Diane Layng and Sophia Varcados, both Creative Services graphic designers, worked on the design for the mural. Layng said she enjoyed it because she does not get much contact with students.

“[I hope students get] warm feelings, general kindness, just reminding everybody about kindnesses and caring,” Layng said.

Clarissa Hinshaw is a staff writer. She can be reached at [email protected].