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A “Make Respect Visible” sign at the entrance of West 82.

OU funds new campaign to promote inclusion on campus

The Make Respect Visible campaign has become visible throughout Ohio University’s campus via signage, T-shirts and other promotional materials. 

This campaign was founded by University Communications and Marketing, or UCM, in collaboration with the Division of Diversity and Inclusion and the Division of Student Affairs. These university offices provide primary funding for this campaign as well.

In total, this campaign is costing OU offices approximately $20,000, which is divided evenly among each of these offices, Duane Bruce, interim assistant director of Multicultural Programs and Multicultural Center, said. 

Although the campaign is fairly new to OU, it has been in the works for quite some time, Carly Leatherwood, a university spokesperson, said. 

“Over a year, (the campaign) has been something that we have been focusing on as a priority,” Leatherwood said. “And it was in response to the fact that we didn't really have a baseline for incoming students to understand what our community values are.”

Aside from reaching out to incoming students, the campaign is also meant to bring existing students together. 

One of the action items for this year was to create a campaign that gives the university expectations for engagement across differences, Bruce said. 

The university has also received feedback from students to help improve this project.

Over 100 students were able to take a survey before the campaign launched, and it was modified based on student feedback, Leatherwood said. 

Megan Vogel, chief of staff for Student Affairs, along with Bruce has recently been in communication with members of the OU community to help spread the word and message of the campaign. 

Student Senate and OU learning communities have also both been involved in the campaign, Leatherwood said. 

Students in learning communities are being asked to give feedback specifically for Make Respect Visible through surveys at the end of the semester, Bruce said. 

“I think the signs do make everyone who sees it just feel like they're part of (the campaign),'' Madelyn Schafer, a freshman studying biological sciences, said. “It's like the whole campus is a part of the campaign, so you just feel like because you go to campus, you're part of the campaign.”

Bruce and Vogel both said they were surprised to hear about the campaign being the theme for Homecoming.

“The first group that I saw come through … promoting Make Respect Visible, I was like, ‘Oh, cool. That must be the group,’” Vogel said. “And then another came through, and then another ... I don’t want it to just be Duane, Carly and I sharing this message. I want it to be everybody talking about it.”

OU is also very confident in the future of this campaign. Currently, the campaign is just a starting point and is subject to change as time goes on. 

“We didn't put this up to solve racism in Ohio … but it does give us a baseline as a university community for how to engage in conversations that are critical,” Bruce said. 


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