An aerial view of a university quad.

Incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into campus spaces can enhance student experiences and signal institutional values and commitment. Here are some suggestions for how colleges and universities can achieve this:

• Display inspirational quotes or messages promoting inclusion, representation, and justice. murals or permanent art installations are impactful options.

• Highlight historically marginalized groups through permanent exhibits on contributions and achievements. This helps ensure their stories are not forgotten and shapes the narrative of the campus community.

• Include familiar multicultural symbols and cultural artifacts. For example, statues of influential figures from underrepresented groups or traditional cultural garments and instruments.

• Reflect diversity in space naming conventions. Choosing names that represent the diversity of perspectives and experiences on campus builds inclusiveness.

• Ensure accessibility through universal design. Follow best practices for inclusive spaces, materials, and programming that meet varied disability needs and mobility requirements.

• Represent intersectionality in imagery and events. Depict and celebrate the complex, overlapping identities reflected in the campus population. Host events focused on intersections of groups.

• Incorporate natural, cultural, and spiritual elements of local communities. Honoring the land, local history, and native heritage helps demonstrate inclusive values. Use of natural materials and textures also has symbolic meaning.

• Foster social interaction and relationship building. Create shared spaces that encourage conversation, community, and connections across differences. Things like libraries, lounges, quads, and study areas.

• Integrate student input and perspectives. Engage students from all groups to identify barriers, share experiences, and craft solutions. Their voices will ensure spaces meet real needs.

• Highlight inclusive processes and policies. An inclusive campus culture is reflected in institutional commitments through diversity statements, centers for inclusion, bias and harassment reporting, etc. Spaces should reinforce these messages.

An inclusive campus environment depends on multidimensional efforts touching all aspects of the college experience. Applying principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion to physical spaces in a thoughtful, intentional way helps advance justice, representation, and belonging for students of all backgrounds. With time and purpose, inclusive spaces can shape inclusive mindsets and nourish thriving, cohesive campus communities.


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