#WhenDiversitySpeaks, a yearlong national marketing campaign, is dedicated to uplifting the voices of students of color at top colleges and universities across the nation, as they share fearless, honest, and unfiltered stories about their college experience.

In doing so, students of color around the country can provide much needed advice to prospective students of color, while proposing solutions for creating a more diverse student body, closing the persistent gap in graduation rates, and improving the college experience for students of color. 

For decades, students of color have had minuscule representation at the top colleges and universities around the country. And recent articles in the past couple of years not only show that the percentage points aren’t really increasing, but that graduation rate gaps between students of color and their white peers still persist.

There are a number of reasons proposed for this. Reports and theories aside, I know what’s it like to be one of less than 6% African American students at an elite research university. And from that experience, I know one thing is true: the best voices to shed light and perspective behind the numbers on admission websites and propose practical solutions and advice for supporting students of color while working to close this never-ending gap, are the students living and learning at these institutions right now.

So, how do you students of color feel at these top institutions around the country? What challenges and obstacles must they brave through as they work diligently to secure their degree(s) in hopes of achieving success, on their own terms? In what ways do they feel supported and let down? And most importantly, do they feel heard, appreciated, or even seen or do they feel like they’re just another number fulfilling a quota? There are a number of questions we’re hoping to get answers to.

But another thing is for sure: we will never know just staring at the numbers in the countless articles and reports released on an annual basis about this persistent problem. So, in true Pillow Talk fashion, we’re hitting the road and traveling to the many ivory towers to capture these fearless stories and celebrate the strength and diversity of students of color.

In doing so, we hope to shed light on the ways many of these institutions are supporting and investing in this nation’s future leaders of color, while also providing a sobering wake-up call with practical solutions on delivering on promises of educational equity.

The Goal

Share the stories of 1000+ students of color around the country, celebrating their resilience, grit, and determination, while revealing the real, honest, and unfiltered take on what it means to be a student of color at some of the top colleges/universities in the country

Create valuable resources and advice to help prospective students of color in their college selection process, including a Diversity Standard Rating detailing strengths and areas of growth for all institutions

Join the Movement

If you’re a student at a college listed in the top 100 on the 2017 U.S. News and World Report or the 2016 Forbes America’s Top Colleges, and you’re interested in bringing this campaign to your institution, you’re in the right place. Together, we can work together to share the fearless stories about the college experience for students of color around the nation.

Below are requirements for bringing this exciting campaign to your campus:

1 student contact person who will help coordinate this campaign on his/her campus and will secure a student guide for us around the campus for the shoot. Please Note: Leaders of cultural/racial/ethnic-themed student groups or members of student government are strongly encouraged, but not required.

1 current staff/faculty/administrator contact person who will help support in coordinating logistics, such as a classroom where everyone can gather for the shoot, and necessary permissions, etc.

A minimum of 20 (maximum of 40) students who have completed the #WhenDiversitySpeaks pre-interview/shoot survey. (Note: The list will be vetted by us to ensure it represents a diverse group of students across interests, extracurricular activities, and class years.) 

Once officially selected for the campaign, each student must pay a $50 campaign fee (within 2 weeks of the shoot date), to secure your spot in the campaign.

This cost covers:

Travel and photography expenses for our team

A campaign profile page showcasing images and interview

Access to images used in this campaign for personal use, valued at $250