Shortly after hundreds of students crowded University President Mark Schlissel’s lawn to call for the firing of former Athletic Director David Brandon, several students launched #standbyblue, a Twitter campaign designed to encourage campus unity.
Brandon resigned in October, but #standbyblue organizers say the campaign is now launching with the hopes of facilitating partnerships among various campus organizations.
LSA senior Canon Thomas and University alum Glenn Eden cofounded the campaign. Thomas said the campaign emerged because he felt a disconnection and lack of unity between students on campus due to the football team’s poor performance. Fourteen campus organizations initially signed on to support the campaign.
“People were protesting against student athletes on campus and people affiliated with the University and it started to seem like the University was getting a little divided,” Thomas said. “We thought, ‘What can we do as a call to action? Well, maybe stand by blue.’ No matter what’s going on, no matter what someone’s opinion or orientation or beliefs are, we still support them because they’re Wolverines.”
In the fall, the hashtag kicked off with representation on T-shirts and through tweets at the Maize Night Madness pep rally in October. Thomas said the hashtag has grown since it began last semester.
“This past semester MUSIC Matters decided to partner up with it and really embrace it,” Thomas said.
Every year, the student organization MUSIC Matters hosts SpringFest, a year-end event with live music and a host of activities sponsored by student organizations from across campus.
Business senior Nick Moeller, SpringFest chair, said the collaboration with #standbyblue is motivated by their goals of fostering student engagement and promoting collaboration among student organizations.
Moeller said he believes #standbyblue can be used as a way to connect events held by student campus organizations.
“You found that they kind of existed in their own capacity,” Moeller said. “Everybody had their own events and promoted them independently, but we had realized that there was a much bigger opportunity to put on more of a unified effort in promoting and hosting those events under the same title. #Standbyblue really was that unifier for us that brought everything together under the same umbrella.”
LSA senior Karen Doh participates in #standbyblue through her role as president of the student organization NOiR Fashion Runway. Doh said members of NOiR made it their goal this year to collaborate with other fashion organizations on campus. The organization plans to collaborate with Shei, a campus fashion magazine, and EnspiRED, to produce a fashion show for SpringFest. Student organization Bronze Elegance will participate in the fashion show as well.
Doh said the #standbyblue campaign played a role in fostering the partnership.
“You hold hands with people that usually are your competition,” Doh said. “It was a really big step forward.”
Thomas said he hopes #standbyblue will exist beyond his involvement and can become a slogan for the University community.
“I hope that no matter where you are, no matter your affiliation, you just support one another,” he said. “In the future, I know we joked about it in the #standbyblue meetings, when you’re in an airport and you see someone, you just fist bump and say ‘Stand by Blue’ and people just know what it is.”
Correction appended: This article has been updated to include both founders of the campaign and correct the spelling of NOiR Fashion Runway.