Student designs first-ever diversity icon

Over the years, St. Ambrose has made many efforts to promote diversity on campus. On April 27, the latest diversity measure, a diversity icon, will make its debut.

The icon was designed by Alecia Chrisman, a senior marketing and graphic design major in Renee Ernst’s graphic design III class.

“All of the students in our class designed three icons,” Chrisman said. “We submitted them to the Diversity Work Group and they voted on it.”

The Diversity Work Group is comprised of administrators, faculty and staff members and strives to increase and highlight diversity on campus. Chrisman’s design was chosen by the group from roughly 45 student submissions. Her icon will now be used by the university to highlight events that promote diversity.

“I was totally shocked when they chose my design,” Chrisman said. “Renee announced that I won in class, and I was shocked because I thought there were some that were more creative than mine.”

Dean of Students Tim Phillips hopes that the icon will demonstrate how many diverse events are taking place on campus.

“Part of the goal is creating a visible marker that says “our differences are important,” but also using it as a way to help to quantify the degree to which diversity is part of the educational environment,” Phillips said.

Chrisman kept these goals in mind while designing the icon. Nearly every element of her icon signifies a particular aspect of diversity on the St. Ambrose campus.

“I was thinking about the oak trees that stand in front of Ambrose Hall and how they are really prominent in the Ambrose community and how they have been here from the very beginning,” Chrisman said. “Whenever you think of diversity, you think of it growing in different directions. You think of branching out, so the hands on the icon symbolize reaching out. The one hand inside of another symbolizes helping people out and working together.”

The colors in the design also have meaning. Chrisman said that the blue in the logo represents St. Ambrose and the different shades and tints of yellow and orange signify the colors of leaves. Her thoughtfulness was not overlooked by the group that chose her icon to represent diversity on the Ambrose campus.

“I like the concept of a tree and that I think our diverse identities are constantly growing,” Phillips said. “Sometimes they’re blooming and other times they’re hidden. Each aspect of who we are contributes to a greater whole. Each individual is carrying infinite human dignity but a degree of beauty as well.”

Phillips expects the new icon to be used by many departments across campus.

“I can see Intercultural Life and Student Activities using the icon regularly,” he said. “Galvin Fine Arts Center is good at identifying diverse components. The departments of social work, social justice, and women’s studies make efforts to highlight diverse options. I think the icon could also be used by Residence Life and the Dean of Students Office.”

By highlighting the diversity on campus, Phillips and the entire Diversity Work Group think the campus community will become closer and continue to embrace each other’s differences.  After the implementation of the diversity icon, students, faculty and staff will be able to see just how many diverse activities take place on campus.

The design above is the first-ever St. Ambrose University diversity icon, designed by Alecia Chrisman.
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