Room for everyone

A new animated ITU video promotes an inclusive study environment

A new ITU produced animated video is intended to promote a respectful and inclusive study and social environment at ITU. The video premieres on the campus screens and ITU social media channels today.

Written September 8, 2021 by thej

Fostering an open, respectful, and inclusive environment is part of the IT University’s over-all strategy, and while we can all agree those are virtues, we should strive towards, putting them into practice is easier said than done. How do we overcome our own biases? How do we learn to see things from other people’s perspective? And how do we avoid lecturing about inappropriate behaviour in the Friday Bar without sounding like stern, admonishing parents?

In a new short, animated video – which you can see below – Study and Career Guidance have opened that conversation with the rest of the university. The video – which promotes inclusivity and respect for others – is intended to make us reexamine our behaviour in both study and social settings at ITU and actively take part in creating an environment at the university that is open and welcoming to everyone.

“We want to create awareness among the students about what respectful, open, and inclusive behaviour is and what it is not, without being admonishing and presenting them with a lot of rules,” says Head of the Study and Career Guidance, Stine Due Hansen, one of the project initiators.

But how do you communicate a complex issue like inclusion? It was a difficult process, according to Stine Due Hansen. To begin with defining what inclusive and open behaviour is entails defining what is not, but all people are different, and our boundaries vary.

“I might find something funny, that you do not find funny. We all have our own perspective on things, and that is really the core issue here. We have to able to see things from the perspective of others. That can be a difficult task,” says Stine Due Hansen.

“In the end, we decided to focus on three aspects of inclusion at ITU: Everyone should feel at home at ITU, no matter gender, sexuality, or ethnicity. We have to respect each other’s boundaries, and we have to watch out for each other.”

The video itself is presented as a fun guide to social etiquette at ITU complete with animated partygoers and a cocktail-hour soundtrack. Wrapping the message up in a fun, light-hearted video was important, Stine Due Hansen says: “Humour is disarming. If the message is too dour – ‘do that or act like this!’ – people stop listening. But if we can make you laugh, odds are you will reflect on the message and that is ultimately the goal.”

The new batch of BSc students had a sneak preview of the video on their first day of classes, and today the video will be shown on all screens on campus as well as on ITU’s social media channels.

“We know that an inclusive environment is the best foundation for a thriving learning environment. The more inclusive we can make ITU to students, the better their chances of succeeding are. It is all about creating a culture where there is room for diversity and differences,” says Stine Due Hansen. “That is our responsibility as a university.”

For more information about ITU's policies on inclusion, diversity, and harassment, please see ITU's Code of Conduct here.