Campaign Orange celebrates diversity

Campaign Orange celebrates diversity

If you couldn't find any orange ribbon at Twin Cities fabric stores this weekend, look at St. Thomas for the "culprit."

John Paul II Hall residents, friends and parents are buying up yards of the stuff for "Campaign Orange," brainchild of UST freshman Annika Edblom.

Edblom dreamed up Campaign Orange in response to the recent hate crimes that targeted three black women in her residence hall. She describes the campaign as "a celebration of diversity" at St. Thomas; she and her friends and hall mates will distribute orange ribbons throughout the campus this week.

"It started with a few vague ideas about what more we could do to support the girls," she said, "and now it's really taking off." Within hours of her announcement of Campaign Orange at Thursday's rally, she and other residents, including John Paul II Hall Council President Katie Dunlop, had received offers of substantial donations and support from the Undergraduate Student Government, STAR, the Residence Hall Association and dozens of individuals on campus.

A Facebook page recorded 135 like-minded members for Campaign Orange by 3 p.m. Friday.

"Orange is the color [that signals] tolerance and diversity," Edblom said, "but our effort is about much more than ribbons and T-shirts."

The group's leaders are gathering today to gather ideas for events and speakers about diversity issues. "Students don't want to be ignorant about diversity," said Edblom, who graduated from a diverse, inner-city public high school, Southwest, in Minneapolis. "It's just that many of them have never had to deal with these issues before."

And, she pointed out, "as great as the 'Stop the Hate' signs were, we wanted to take a more positive approach in teaching people to celebrate diversity, and in that way 'combat' hate with love."

Plan to learn more about Campaign Orange; everyone’s welcome to participate in its efforts. If you'd like to be involved, contact Edblom; her e-mail address is .