I Am U Thriving reveals the richness of our campus diversity. And helps build toward campus action by promoting a greater sense of agency, allyship, advocacy and positive visibility. I am U thriving strives to challenge grand narratives and stereotypes about representation and marginalized populations on campus. In addition, this project compels every individual to reflect on their own privileges and how their identities remain key to their experiences at the U.
I Am U Thriving is a visual story campaign that focuses on the individuals that comprise our diverse One U community. Photos are taken of individuals holding whiteboards with their own handwritten narratives about who they are, what they have overcome and what they know to be true about themselves. The photographs highlight and validate the experiences of our community members, particularly those of color and other marginalized populations on campus.
“This new approach to self-empowerment is powerful because individuals are able to tell as much of their unique story as they want, on their terms and to claim their own identities,” said Lori McDonald, vice president, Student Affairs. “So often labels are placed on us by others without knowing our stories. I believe I Am U Thriving will foster a sense of belonging and pride for our diverse U community.”
Everyone at the University of Utah is welcomed to participate and share their experiences. Come share your I AM U THRIVING story with our campus community by getting your photo taken at our open campus photo shoot on March 5, 2021. The event will take place on campus where all COVID-19 precautions will be taken and I Am U Thriving Masks will be provided. Complete the participation form found here to secure your 10-minute time slot between 8:30am-5:00pm MST.
Participant photos are then shared @iamuthriving on Instagram for the U community to engage with.
“I want anyone thinking about participating in his new initiative to know, this is not a marketing campaign aimed at increasing diversity and retention,” said program lead Bryan Hubain, associate vice president, Student Diversity & Inclusion. “By voluntarily telling our own stories—on our own terms—we help reclaim and share power among our community. There is power in what we have to offer and what we have to share and then celebrating and uplift each other for our differences and more importantly—our similarities.”
Led by Bryan Hubain in Student Affairs, I Am U Thriving operates within the larger One U Thriving initiative to create positive change on campus, led by the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Volunteer to be a Storytelling Coach
Be a part of I Am U Thriving as a storytelling coach! Storytelling coaches will guide participants in sharing their personal narratives and help them to summarize their story in a sentence or a few points.
Storytelling coaches will go through a brief training to better understand the exploration process. Coaches should have availability in the Spring to meet with participants to assist in exploring their narratives. Volunteer here.
Nominate a Thriving Campus Member
Know a faculty member, staff member, or student who deserves to be seen and heard? Nominate them to share their I Am U Thriving story with the campus by participating in our open campus photo shoot on March 5, 2021.
We will individually invite these campus community members to the photo shoot by letting them know that they have been nominated. Submit a nomination here.