Letter from the editor: Introducing Voices


Emily Blobaum/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State students participated in the Voices campaign in the spring 2016 semester. 

Emily Barske

We often label ourselves in certain categories, be it “white” or “student with disabilities” or “conservative” or “atheist.” Yet every person at Iowa State has an individual identity and an individual perspective.

We want to capture this, and we are excited to officially announce the launch of our project called Voices, which will consist of a community-driven website (launching soon) and in-person discussions.

Through Voices, the Iowa State Daily seeks to facilitate civil discourse and build awareness about diversity and inclusivity on Iowa State’s campus. The website and discussions are a place to share, listen, educate, learn and inspire. It is a place to tell stories of what makes us different, yet similar, in our experiences, in our values and in our beliefs.

Voices is a project that the Iowa State Daily started in the spring of 2016 with a series of videos and portraits around campus. We asked 54 students of varying backgrounds five questions:

Discussions about diversity and inclusion aren’t unique to Iowa State, nor higher education in general. Yet, at Iowa State, a few key issues and events sparked both controversy and conversation.

The start of the conversation

Two years ago from this past weekend, student protesters of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gathered at the Cy-Hawk tailgates while Trump visited Ames. A woman ripped a protester’s poster while saying to vote for white supremacy. This was by no means the first or last instance of hatred and bigotry on campus, but it certainly started discussion.

Since that event, many things — good and bad — have happened on campus related to diversity and inclusion issues. The Daily launched a diversity team to dive into these conversations in the fall of 2016. And while many conversations have taken place, they are often within certain circles or occur at different times. The goal of Voices is to centralize the conversation and bring the wide array of perspectives together.

We need you to participate

Our Voices project is different than anything we’ve done before because we need it to be driven by the community. While we continue to dive into and tell the stories of diversity in our community, we are asking that you all submit their own pieces. These pieces can discuss your perspective, tell your experience or weigh in on issues. The website will include a submission form for these pieces of content.

We seek to capture the experiences of our community based on a person’s identity. We want to know how your race, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, religious beliefs and ability affect your experience at Iowa State. We hope to set the precedent for future students and Iowa State community members that this campus is a place to challenge your thoughts while respecting others’ beliefs and backgrounds.

Have questions? Email [email protected] or you can reach out to me directly at ([email protected]).