Orange exchange

A strip of orange fabric pinned to Yvette Gonzalez’s backpack reads, “migrant rights.”

For Gonzalez, the simple orange band serves as an outward reminder of an obligation she feels.

As a Mexican-American, Gonzalez believes it’s her duty to fight to improve the rights of immigrants who are now facing hurdles her grandfather faced as a migrant worker in the 1930s.

“One can never forget that we’re the sons and daughters of (immigrants),” Gonzalez said.

Hundreds of students on campus like Gonzalez have begun using orange bands to display their feelings on political and social issues.

The effort, called the OrangeBand Initiative, is being sponsored by a handful of campus groups to promote student discussion of civic matters. Among the sponsors are the Associated Students of the University of Utah and the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

“I think we live in a more isolated world,” said Richard Whipple, director of SPaCE–Service-Politics and Civic Engagement–a student group promoting political involvement and also sponsoring the initiative. “We have our bubble?everyone has their iPods in.”

Whipple said he first learned of the OrangeBand Initiative at a student service conference and decided the program could be beneficial to the U.

He said the purpose of the initiative is to encourage students to discuss issues without debating or being confrontational–a dialogue Whipple thinks is missing in society today.

“I think talking about (issues) is the first step to becoming more civically involved,” Whipple said. “We encourage the band as a way to spark conversation.”

The initiative will be promoted throughout the school year, with forums and events coming next semester.

Students can pick up an orange band at ASUU’s office in the Union, Room 234, or at the Hinckley Institute in OSH, Room 255.

Lisa Teran

Senior Rich Whipple wears an orange tag to display his views on educational vouchers. Whipple, who works at an elementary school along with studying for a double major, says that tax vouchers for education ultimately hurt the poorest children.