Blog creates writing space for students of color

The Hype is a blog where students of color at Iowa State can post about their experiences and stories.

Courtesy of Multicultural Student Affairs

The Hype is a blog where students of color at Iowa State can post about their experiences and stories.

Logan Metzger

Finding a space for disenfranchised voices is often difficult, but one office at Iowa State has created a blog where multicultural students can share their stories.

“The Hype” is the Multicultural Student Affair’s hosted student blog that features submissions from Iowa State University multicultural students.

“The Hype is a blog that we started in Multicultural Student Affairs in fall 2017,” said Denise Williams-Klotz, student services specialist for Multicultural Student Affairs. “The Hype is meant to be a space where we share students’ stories, student information. Our thought was to do as much as we can to engage with students of color and lift up their voices; this is a way we can do it digitally and we could invite a lot of different students to contribute to it.”

Williams-Klotz said Multicultural Student Affairs staff members and others across campus recommend students to write posts and students can also contact Williams-Klotz about writing a blog post.

“When students approach us, I’ll meet with them one on one,” Williams-Klotz said. “Some people like to write and they already have the story written in their head; for a lot of our students they have a story to tell but they aren’t writers and so we will talk through some ideas like how to structure a post or to brainstorm what they want to say. We will talk about editing and if you want to put your name on something.”

Williams-Klotz said posts can be published anonymously because the stories the students tell are personal or could bring backlash.

Throughout the week, the blog features different students, organizations and opportunities plus content to engage readers. Williams-Klotz said there are four main types of posts.

“We have a variety of different types of posts that go up,” Williams-Klotz said. “This year we are doing it a little bit different than what we have in the past. Generally the posts we have all written by students are what we call leadership callouts, adventure posts, student club posts and “In My Words” posts where students are invited to share their stories.”

The club posts are shared every Monday and feature a new student organization every time. Williams-Klotz said the club spotlight is an opportunity for organizations to promote themselves to a wide audience. The goal of the post may be to increase membership, promote an upcoming event, discuss the history of the group or to share information about a philanthropy or a cause that is meaningful for the group.

The adventure posts are featured every other Wednesday and provide an opportunity for students to share the story of their adventures off-campus. This may include highlighting a study abroad trip, sharing about an internship, discussing attending a conference or other off-campus adventures in which Iowa State’s multicultural students are engaged. Williams-Klotz said the purpose of these posts is not necessarily to convince others to do it but to highlight the adventure and what they gained from the experience.

The leadership callouts are featured every other Wednesday and highlight leadership positions across campus and feature the stories of those individuals who have held those roles or been involved with the groups. In this post, students briefly describe the leadership position they experienced and then share what they gained from participating. Students may also choose to write about advice they have for others wanting to be involved, how this leadership experience relates to their future career or the impact they saw on the community because of their participation.

In My Words posts are shared every Sunday and feature a new student every time. In My Words is designed to allow a space for students of color to give voice to their experience in a forum that will have a wide reach to fellow students, faculty and staff members. Williams-Klotz said she encourages students to share the good, the bad, the ugly, the challenging, the wonder, the successes and the lifesavers. She said they may want to reflect on their experience broadly or focus on one particular incident or aspect of their experience.

“The Hype is a space,” Williams-Klotz said. “It is a space to highlight student experiences and student stories and I think anytime as a campus we can provide space to lift up the voices of our students, especially the voices of our students who hold marginalized identities, that is powerful and it shapes how we as an institution grow and move forward.”