Giving issues color

By By Celeste Chaney

By Celeste Chaney

Members of a student group on campus hope a piece of orange ribbon will spark conversations about political and personal issues across campus.

OrangeBand is a student organization that revolves around a simple action: Students write issues that are important to them on a piece of orange cloth and display them where they are visible to create a gateway for communication about the topic.

“The goal of our organization (is) to provide a forum for students to talk about any of the issues that they care about,” said Tyler Anderson, OrangeBand co-chair.

Anderson, who is a sophomore political science and economics major, said OrangeBand does not promote any particular issue, but instead lets students choose the subject they want to voice.

“OrangeBand doesn’t have any one issue or agenda to push,” Anderson said. “Providing a forum for that kind of intellectual diversity is exactly why OrangeBand was created.”

OrangeBand was created four years ago by a small group of friends at James Madison University. Since then, chapters at universities from California to Washington, D.C. have sprung up.

“It is an initiative that creates an avenue for safe expression in a society where many are disinclined to participate or voice an opinion,” said Ricard Whipple, last year’s chair and a recent U graduate, who is a graduate student at USC.

Students involved with OrangeBand said that they are the primary benefactors of the organization and that by gaining understanding about issues other students feel are important, they feel changed and gain a sense of “inter-connectedness,” Whipple said.

Anderson said before he was involved in OrangeBand he would do things such as recycle primarily out of a sense of duty.

“Now after speaking to people who passionately care about recycling and how it affects our community and environment, I realize that there is a broader issue at stake than whether or not I have room in my trash can,” Anderson said.

This type of change in thinking is what OrangeBand is all about, Whipple said

“It’s not just about conversation,” Whipple said. “It’s about paving the way for change.”

Students interested in the project can get orange ribbons at any OrangeBand event or at the Bennion Community Service Center. OrangeBand members said they hope that students will also be able to pick up bands at stations outside of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, the Associated Students of the University of Utah and Union Programming Council offices.

“OrangeBand was a phenomenal experience for me, one in which I learned the value of listening to and understanding others,” Whipple said. “I learned that students do care, and about a lot of things-about thousands of issues.”

OrangeBand will help sponsor both ASUU Impact Day on Sept. 5 and the September Project with the Marriott Library the week of Sept. 11.

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Maegan Burr