University News

"You are Welcome Here" Campaign Debuts at WIU

March 1, 2017

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Colleges and universities across the United States are banding together in a campaign, "You Are Welcome Here," to remind current and prospective international students that they are welcome to pursue their education in the United States. The campaign, which began at Temple University, has now been adopted by over 100 American colleges and universities, including Western Illinois University.

"In the wake of last year's election and President Trump's recent Executive Order on denying entry into the United States from citizens of specific countries, this is a period of great uncertainty for international students from all corners of the world," said Jeff Hancks, interim director of Western's School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach. "Campaigns such as 'You Are Welcome Here' are important to let international students know that they are vital and valued members of our campus communities."

According to Hancks, each year more than one million international students enroll at colleges and universities in the United States, including nearly 500 at WIU.

"International students enrich and enlighten our universities and our communities with their diverse perspectives and unique talents," he added. "We need them in the United States, and I would hate to see international students choose to study in other countries due to a false perception that American universities do not want them here. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Western's Center for International Studies has used the hashtag #YouAreWelcomeHere, to contribute to the campaign with photos on social media and created a video featuring Western students and employees, including Hancks and WIU President Jack Thomas.
Senior broadcasting major and University Relations student content producer Ryan Garity (Crystal Lake, IL) produced the video.

"I really enjoyed working on this project. One of the best parts of my job is I get to meet different people every day, and this has helped me see the diversity of our campus," Garity said.

"I am so pleased with Ryan's work," Hancks said. "He captured precisely the message we wanted to deliver so students all over the world know they are welcome at Western Illinois University."

International students interested in studying at WIU are encouraged to contact the Office of International Admissions at

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations