To convey a message about the value of understanding, inclusion and cross-cultural relationships, the University of Kentucky International Center is launching its #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, which includes a video of UK students extending a warm welcome to UK’s culturally rich and diverse campus. UK’s campaign is inspired by the #YouAreWelcomeHere movement that is dedicated to affirming the diversity of U.S. universities, along with their friendly and safe environments. The idea stemmed from Study Group in November 2016, and was taken to the next level by Temple University.
When organizations such as American International Recruitment Council (AIRC) and Association of International Educators (NAFSA) began to support the movement, institutions across the U.S. began to make their own videos. Now UK joins the national campaign and other 200 participating institutions and organizations to share this powerful message.
“The #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign is much more than a hashtag. It is a welcome message from U.S. higher education to international students around the world,” said Andrea Gils, UK International Center’s Marketing and Communications manager. “We’re saying: ‘We want you here – we want you to share your experiences, your knowledge, your research and your culture with us. Your presence enriches our students’ lives just as they enrich yours and we want UK to be your home.”
The campaign’s official website says students have expressed “gratitude and relief,” adding that “the videos are especially reassuring to our parents who are comforted to see friendly faces behind many higher education institutions across the U.S.”
“Families all around the world are wondering if their son or daughter will be welcome on US campuses. It is important for the University of Kentucky to make certain that bright and ambitious students from around the world know they are welcome on our campus to live and learn as part of our community,” said Sue Roberts, UK’s Associate Provost for Internationalization. The University of Kentucky International Center hopes that the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign will have a similar impact and conveys the welcoming message to all students – international and domestic, prospective current and incoming students.