University of Minnesota Driven to Discover


Respect U took place at Northrop Auditorium on September 3, 2015 during Welcome Week for the incoming Class of 2019, click here to view this presentation.

This event is a 20-minute presentation on what it means to create a respectful, caring campus community. It focuses on one main line from the Pieces of the Puzzle performance students view at New Student Orientation: "You can do this. There are places on this campus you can go. You are not alone. There are people who will listen to your story." Minnesota Student Association President, Joelle Stangler and Vice President, Abeer Syedah, welcomed the class at this event. They told their own stories by sharing their "picture perfect" images, their feelings, and their challenges. Campus departments were represented through a video where they were able to describe how they support the stories of students. Students then participated in a call-to-action activity that involved cards submitted by the campus community. These cards consisted of an action the first-year students could perform to step out of their comfort zone within the first six weeks of the semester. Students were encouraged to discuss with their Welcome Week groups how they could carry out their action item to begin to create new behaviors that align with a caring and respectful campus environment.

Although Respect U has been a part of the Welcome Week program since 2011, this was the first time it was presented as a more formal presentation and incorporated a specific call to action. Prior to this year Respect U had been a series of interactive activities hosted by student services areas to draw attention to resources available on campus related to complex issues such as sexual assault, mental health, equity and diversity. Feedback from students and participating units was that it was too overwhelming to interact with so many different areas in a short amount of time and the key message of the event was getting lost. Upon reflecting on the 2014 event, the participating units determined a new approach would be welcomed.

Thank you to the following departments and people that influenced and inspired this presentation:

  • Provost’s Committee on Mental Health*
  • Student Unions & Activities*
  • Office for Fraternity & Sorority Life*
  • International Student Scholar Services*
  • The Aurora Center for Advocacy & Education*
  • University Libraries*
  • Interfaith Campus Coalition*
  • Office for Equity & Diversity*
  • President’s Coalition for a Respectful U
  • Campus Climate Core Planning Team
  • Leadership Minor
  • Office of Student Conduct & Academic Integrity
  • Housing & Residential Life
  • Joelle Stangler & Abeer Syedah, Minnesota Student Association
  • Northrop Auditorium Staff
  • Orientation & First-Year Programs
  • Orientation Leaders
  • Welcome Week Leaders
  • Welcome Week Advisory Committee
  • Disability Resource Center
*Original Respect U Committee

The following events also influenced the content and structure of this presentation:

  • Campus Climate Open Space Event (February 5, 2015)
  • Bryan Stevenson, Guy Stranton Ford Lecture Series Speaker (April 7, 2015)
  • Art of Participatory Leadership workshop attendees (July 8-10, 2015)