Positive messages covered the Diag on Friday, as the University of Michigan's Expect Respect initiative launched its new campaign. The new campaign, which focuses on defining respect, was accompanied by booths that allowed students to better understand what respect means on campus. Approximately 600 students participated in the event, which is the first of two “Diag Days” being held by the initiative.
Nicole Banks, the assistant dean of students, organized the event to help introduce students to the Expect Respect campaign and the values that it looks to instill in the student body.
“They hear the catchphrase, but they may not have had a deeper understanding of it,” Banks said, explaining the purpose of the event.
To give students a better understanding, each booth focused on specific aspects of the campaigns led by Expect Respect.
One of the booths encouraged students to take a pledge to support the spirit of Expect Respect by signing a banner that will hang in the Diag.
Another booth focused on the First Amendment's relation to free speech and hate speech on campus. The booth featured Doug Lewis, the director of student legal services on campus. While there, Lewis said, he engaged with students about how the First Amendment should be used to create meaningful discussion and not to inflame hatred against others. Lewis spoke of Expect Respect’s new poster campaign encouraging students to invite, not incite, hostilities when disagreeing with others.
“We had some rousing conversations about what that means in the light of what’s been going on here on campus lately,” he said.
The final booth covered Expect Respect’s newest campaign on defining respect. Students at the booth took photographs while holding dry-erase boards with messages about what respect means to them.
LSA senior Gabe Colman, who helped photograph and organize the event, handed out Expect Respect bracelets and stickers. Colman said the event and the encouragement of respect were important due to recent racist incidents on campus.
“Especially given the campus climate recently, we’re just trying to, you know, put all the love out there, as you can see with all the positive chalking around. We’re trying to, you know, drown out all the negativity and we’re trying to combat it with positivity and with respect.”