Editor’s Note: The following remembrance was prepared by Sheldon Stone’s colleagues in the Department of Physics. Sheldon Stone, distinguished professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences, passed away Oct. 6 after battling a chronic illness for many…
Students Create #OneCuse Social Media Campaign to Unify University Community
“I must continue to do my part and make it clear that any racist rhetoric is unacceptable.”
“It is up to us to unite and fill this campus with love instead of hate.”
“Protect each other and stand together.”
These quotes of support, comfort and love are just a few of the dozens written by students in IST 195 Introduction to Information Technology who are putting their words into action. The class has launched a website, which shares their thoughts, and a social media campaign to bring together the campus community following hateful incidents on campus.
Students are asking the University community to spread their own positive messages through social media using the hashtag #OneCuse and encourage those impacted by what has happened. The website OurOrangeVoice.com highlights the numerous comments by students of how they have been affected and how they see the campus moving forward. Both the hashtag and name of the website were developed by students.
“#OneCuse is a campaign that I hope all SU students can participate in by posting a takeaway from recent incidents and what students could do to unite,” says Clifford Huang ’22, a student in the class and a policy studies and economics major. “I hope through the #OneCuse campaign students will treat each other with love. There shouldn’t be a barrier among students. There should be love and acceptance. Together without divisions, there is #OneCuse.”
The website and campaign came about following a conversation in Professor Jeff Rubin’s class. “I have been on this campus for nearly three decades. I love Syracuse University and believe in our community. I felt it was important to address what was going on in my class,” Rubin says. “I wanted them to know that we are in this together, that I am here for them, and that we all must do our part, including me, and that we must choose love over hate.”
After his class lecture, Rubin emailed the class of 340 students and asked them to reflect on the incidents and then share, in any type of format, what they could do to stand up to hate, spread love and show their Syracuse pride.
“I was blown away by the responses I received. Our students are absolutely incredible. Their words taught me so much about community,” Rubin says.
Some students sent videos; others sent essays and pages full of their thoughts. “Their words were filled with many emotions, but most importantly they were filled with love, a desire to be there for each other, and a desire to do better,” Rubin says. “Their words taught me so much about what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes.”
Rubin pulled the quotes for the website from the students’ responses, so they could see how united they were—and then share them with the community and the world. He asked students to develop ideas for the website domain name, to replace a holder name he had put in, and a hashtag that would help promote unity, love and the Orange spirit.
Chelsea Lovgren ’22 thought it was an important assignment to contribute to, as she had been constantly thinking and talking about what had been happening. “Our campus was going through a difficult time, and self-reflection is important especially in times like these,” says Lovgren, an information management and technology major. “We need to truly look inwards and figure out how we can grow and become better people in this world.”
As part of her essay, Lovgren urges people to become an ally—a friend—to “overlooked voices.”
“The issue is that we have to take the time out of our days to become empathetic, educate ourselves, and accept others who may be different,” Lovgren stated in her essay. “We have to understand that we have to put the work in to understand people who are different than us; you don’t know how much you may learn from others.”
The campaign helps the University create an open dialogue about the discrimination and racism that exists on campus, Lovgren says. “Without talking about these issues and discovering ways that we can create a more accepting and educated environment, discrimination will perpetuate,” she says.
Lovgren hopes the social media campaign will inspire students to self-reflect and educate themselves. “I hope they take the time to learn about other backgrounds and experiences other students face on campus,” she says.
In his essay, Huang was inspired to share how he believes individuals should strive for acceptance of others. “Being the minority in SU shouldn’t make you feel uncomfortable as if we didn’t meet the public standards. There shouldn’t exist a level of supremacy among individuals. After all, we are all human beings,” Huang says. “Even if an individual seems ‘exotic,’ we should accept them as who they are and treat them as equal.”
As the campaign grows, Rubin wants every student to know they are not alone. “Regardless of who they are or what background they came from, they share so much in common,” Rubin says. “Our students love each other, and love this University. Yes, they were scared, angry and sad about what happened. But they are there for each other, they want to do better, they realize we have a chance to show the world that we at Syracuse University are united and that we condemn all forms of hate.”