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As a college we are committed to making UT a welcoming and inclusive place for all students, faculty, and staff. To that end, I'm making a pledge to do at least one thing each month that expands my understanding of groups other than my own and results in ways I can better support those around me. I plan to attend a cultural festival to learn about customs, foods and music that are new to me; to read other points of view in the political opinion section of my newspaper (I think there are still newspapers, aren't there?); and to check out a documentary that introduces me to the lives of people who come from backgrounds unlike mine.
I invite you to join me in this. If the above suggestions are too much to fit into your schedule this week, here are some fun stickers I'm going to start using on my Twitter and Instagram feeds, and you can use them too.
My favorite sticker is Y'all Belong Here mostly because I'm a native Texan and y'all has always signaled inclusivity to me. I'm going to also add it to my e-mail signature so everyone I communicate with will be reminded that they are not only welcome here, but I celebrate each person's contributions to our campus – and I'm starting with you. I'm truly excited that you're on our campus, and if there are any ways we can make this a better experience for you please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Vanden Bout
Joke: I once had a conversation with a dolphin — we just clicked.