University Housing at the University of Illinois

Team I-Flags

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In October 2015, a small group from the Ag Ed 480 Collaborative Leadership class approached the University Housing Aesthetics Committee with a mission to “increase inclusivity on the University of Illinois campus highlighting cultural diversity through flag representation.” They envisioned hanging international flags from the ceiling at the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building (SDRP). Housing agreed to partner with this group of students to accomplish their goal. Through months of collaboration and meetings, the group agreed the students would focus on fund raising, general etiquette for hanging the flags, code restrictions, etc. Housing would provide the space and labor necessary to facilitate the plan. The student group, Team I-Flags, pulled resources from the various cultural houses, local businesses, and other Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) to raise over $800 toward the purchase of the flags and the fire retardant spray needed to make them code compliant. Over winter break, staff suspended 196 flags representing countries that are members of the United Nations member countries from the ceiling to create a unique display of cultural diversity. In January 2016, when students returned to campus, Team I-Flags coordinated an “unveiling” of their display to help communicate their mission and vision to all who passed through the building. One student member of Team I-Flags shared, “We hope to see the representation of the flags used as a talking point to promote diversity and inclusivity. People from different countries and cultures, who may have never met before, can have an open discussion about what makes them unique. A greater understanding of our peers is very powerful.”

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University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana

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