President Barron introduced the “We Are All In” campaign to the Board of Trustees at its meeting on Friday. The year-long effort will focus on diversity and inclusion at Penn State.
“[We Are All In] is focused on what the true meaning of “we are” is,” Barron said, “and regardless of what you think you see, I earned the right to be at Penn State.”
The university will host a We Are All In kickoff event on October 6 at 7:15 p.m. on Old Main Lawn, featuring a multimedia presentation/video projected on the face of Old Main.
An “All In Calendar” is now online, featuring events centered on diversity and inclusion in addition to events from both professionals and student groups showcasing different cultural traditions.
“You wander around this campus, you see someone who’s very different looking than you are,” Barron said, “and what should come to your mind is that individual earned the right to be here because they got good grades and they worked hard and they were admitted to Penn State because that is our admissions process, so regardless of what you think you see when you see me, we earned — I earned — the right to be at Penn State.”
A Student Diversity Panel was held at the Faculty Senate meeting on September 6, and Barron said each faculty senate meeting this year will include a diversity and inclusion segment.
The We Are All In campaign will also include a final capstone project, which will constitute a permanent tribute to our commitment to being all in.
“We have a group led by Marcus Whitehurst and representing groups from across the university to consider a broad set of ideas, many, many ideas on how it is that we pay tribute to our history and reflect our hopes and plans for the future of Penn State,” Barron said, “and I think what they — what they accomplish will have a lasting impact on the university.”
Barron highlighted an example of what a We Are All In capstone might look like, explaining putting words on “some permanent structure” that reflected history and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. “One of the ones that’s got to be there is ‘We play all or we play none,'” Barron said, referring to the story our “We Are” chant is based on.
Trustees responded positively to the campaign plans, commending Barron for enhancing bottom-up leadership from student organizations rather than forcing top-down ideas.
“President Barron, as you know, diversity and inclusion is such an important topic on campus, and I look at this and can’t help but feel excited,” student Trustee Luke Metaxas said. “I think students are going to feel the same way. Thank you for setting such a strong message that this university is committed to unity. I agree with you, I think it absolutely will have a lasting impact, so thank you.”