‘You are welcome’ program promotes inclusion in region

At times, the world seems to be overrun with stories of bigotry and intolerance. But then, sometimes at least, there is news that renews one’s faith in humanity.

Such as the information recently issued by Northern Michigan University that it is participating in a nationwide effort to let students from other parts of the world know Marquette welcomes them.

Take a walk through downtown Marquette and see that businesses are displaying posters in their windows with the message “You Are Welcome Here” in multiple languages. NMU staff members delivered the posters as part of a campaign designed to strengthen international students’ connection to the community and familiarize them with local businesses, according to a university news release.

It’s part of an initiative known as the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign.

It is intended to assure international students that American universities want to “promote diverse, friendly and safe environments,” the release indicated.

Further, each institution participating in the initiative is communicating the message in its own way.

Thanks go to Erika Greeley, coordinator of international enrollment, and Diana Vreeland, director of the English Language Institute in the Division of Extended Learning and Community Engagement, who lead the effort to get the campaign started at Northern.

The release stated: “The campaign aligns with the core value of inclusion in the university’s strategic plan.”

The two attended the NAFSA Association of International Educators Conference last year, receiving templates for posters designed by Temple University. The two later distributed the posters around not just on campus but around downtown Marquette.

It may seem a small thing, but putting out this kind of welcome is a wonderful way to be part of the effort to be welcoming and kind to people from all parts of the globe. Education is an important tool in building a better world. We’re thrilled NMU has stepped up to take part in this initiative.

For more information about the movement, go to https://www. youarewelcomehereusa.org/.