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By Chelsea Smiley Western’s Residence Life announced the winner of the 2018 Diversity Poster Contest in Wilson Library on Saturday, May 19. This year’s winning poster is titled “Stronger Together” by Haley Mounes. The Diversity Poster Contest started in 1997. The contest serves to offer students an opportunity to visually display how diversity impacts their lives based on a specific theme. Artists are encouraged to capture the look, feel and character of diversity, according to the Diversity Poster Contest website.

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"Stronger Together" this year's winning poster by Haley Mounes.
The sepia-toned students in the winning poster are intended to represent how we are all cut from the same cloth, and that we are all strong when we work together, winner Haley Mounes said in her submission statement. This year's theme “Beyond Myself - Strength in Each Other,” was decided through a courageous conversation via a volunteer committee, Resident Director of Nash Hall Tomoko Matsui said. “We decided that this year we needed to have a more collective approach to work together and empower each other,” Matsui said. “To think beyond ourselves, and myself, to advocate and support others.” According to the Diversity Poster Contest website, this year’s theme aims to create art that will empower us and spark critical conversation about diversity on Western’s campus. The website also says it is often easy to be the protagonist of our own story and to be blind to the struggles of others.
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A few of this year's submissions on May 19. // Photo by Chelsea Smiley
Looking at experiences and perspectives apart from our own will help our community advocate for social change through empathy and awareness, according to the website. “With our current political climate, I think this contest is an important way to start a conversation,” freshman Blake West said.“This allows people to express themselves when they cannot find the words to describe how they are feeling.” Our current administration can make it hard to express how we feel about an issue without being attacked, West said. It is important to stand up and not be afraid to say or express what you feel. “Campus-wide it is really important because art does not use any language or cultures, so they have more freedom to express their creativity regarding diversity,”  Matsui said. The poster will hang in Viking Commons along with the previous winners. The poster will also get distributed through all residence halls, Matsui said. To see all of this year’s poster submissions and past winners, visit The Diversity Posters website at https://housing.wwu.edu/apps/residence-life/diversity-poster/  


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