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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

MSU Expanding Awareness of Cultural Diversity Through Campus Landmarks

Missouri State University
Diversity landmarks displayed during Public Affairs Week on the MSU campus.

As part of its public affairs mission, Missouri State University is asking campus and community members to take part in its annual diversity landmarks initiative.  KSMU’s Theresa Bettmann has more.

Diversity landmarks are placards that offer written messages related to diversity and displayed across campus in the fall during Public Affairs Week and again in the spring during the conference.  Written on the plaques are quotes that are geared toward inspiring connection and engagement with and welcoming of people from all backgrounds.

Dr. Ken Coopwood, vice president for diversity and inclusion at MSU, says this is the third year the campus has taken part in the welcoming activity.  He shares he brought the idea along with him from the Indiana University system where similar programs continue today.

“The idea is about connecting people through the heart and through the mind about something as sensitive as diversity, inclusivity, equity and justice,” Coopwood says.

Coopwood says anyone can submit a personal or famous quote that speaks a positive message about diversity.  Around 100 messages will line the sidewalks around campus, particularly near Carrington Hall and the PSU, in the spring and fall.  He says they have received nearly 40 entries so far this year and expect to select between 15 to 20 new quotes.  Coopwood says it is a great way to leave a legacy on campus for students for years to come.

He adds that there has been strong response to the program as it is fun, simple, inexpensive, and has the potential to engage everyone.  He says it is a great way to spark thoughtful discussion and a willingness to learn about people that are different to us. 

“Through this initiative the university expands its capacity to learn more about the people that it’s is responsible for educating, and the people whom it has hired to lead the educational pursuit,” says Coopwood.

The deadline for entries is 5pm August 7th.  

Theresa received her undergraduate degree in sociology at Missouri State University, as well as her Master's degree in Social Work at MSU. Theresa enjoys writing, drawing, reading, music, working with animals, and most of all spending time with her family. She wishes to continue to use her experiences, combined with her pursuit of education, to foster a sense of empowerment and social awareness in the community. Theresa loves working with KSMU and attributes her passion for NPR, and love of learning, to her father.