CAS Identity Project Embraces Diversity

Posted on: March 12, 2013

Blog-photo-FOR-WEBIt's no surprise that there is a lot of diversity on Michigan State University's campus. It's one of the reasons MSU is so renowned, as is exhibited on the new MSU Spartans Will 360 initiative. Thousands of MSU students come from places all over the world, representing all 50 states, all 83 Michigan counties and 130 countries worldwide. Twelve percent of MSU students are international and 16.4 percent are students of color. There are more female students on campus than male - 52 to 48 percent, respectively.

Check out the Spartans Will 360 initiative here.

At the College of Communication Arts & Sciences, we also are home to a wide array of students from all different backgrounds and corners of the world. Our CAS students represent 34 of the 50 United States, come from 30 countries and three islands in the Western Caribbean. We take great pride in our diversity and inclusion. The broad range of cultural experiences that our students and faculty bring to CAS make our college a well-rounded place for learning and growing-not just in the classroom, but personally as well.

To represent the college's diversity, academic advisor from the Office of Academic & Student Affairs, Lauren Gaines, has initiated the "CAS Identity Project." Gaines' goal behind starting the project is to bring attention to the great diversity of CAS students and create a sense of community among familiar and welcoming faces. The gallery is on the walls of the first floor of the Communication Arts & Sciences Building and exhibits photos of students of all disciplines, ages, majors and ethnicities.

"A great deal of the college experience for our students is figuring out who they are, where they fit, and who they hope to become. It's an amazing coming-of-age time in their lives; I wanted to create something that captured students in this moment," Gaines said.

In addition to her role as academic advisor, Gaines is the coordinator of diversity and multicultural initiatives and is a dean-appointed member of the MSU Institutional Diversity Excellence in Action (IDEA) Coordinators Committee for CAS at the university level. In pursuit of innovative ideas for CAS students, she was awarded a $10,000 Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant (CIE) through the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives just last semester.

Students are not always aware of how incredibly diverse the CAS community is. I hope that students and visitors alike will take a minute to reflect on the opportunities that come with learning in a diversity-rich environment, and appreciate this experience within our college.

Gaines is still collecting faces for the project. If you're a student and you would like to be a part of the project, you can email a photo of your face to Lauren at And if you're interested in viewing the gallery, come to the Communication Arts & Sciences Building and check it out! We'll continue to post photos as the project progresses.

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