What I Be Project comes to USD

Photo Courtesy of Steve Rosenfield

Photo Courtesy of Steve Rosenfield

Photo Courtesy of Steve Rosenfield/What I Be Project

The University of San Diego is devoted to advancing academic brilliance, broadening liberal and professional knowledge, generating a diverse and all-inclusive environment for students, staff, faculty and teachers, and practicing these with high ethical and moral standards.

Just five years ago, USD launched the Changemaker HUB, a campus-wide compilation of USD’s mission and values. The purpose looks to empower and offer every student, faculty, and staff member to be and act as a changemaker.

The purpose and goal surrounding the HUB is to establish venues that promote diversity through festivals, fellowships, community service, immersion programs, and competitions. Changemakers focus on the USD community as a whole, with the motivation to engage and educate each other and generate an inclusive environment. Inspiration and acceptance is key to truly experiencing changemaking in action.

Not only do USD Changemakers focus on the bettering of USD specifically, but also the public and nearby areas in order to build and sustain a just and humane society.

This group of individuals work together with a primary focus on event promotion and production, musical performances, and trips. This group consists of approximately 1,038 students and 82 faculty and staff annually who act as on-campus changemakers.

One of the latest projects coming to USD’s campus through the Changemaker HUB, Associated Students, Residential Life, Center for Health and Wellness Promotion and other departments on campus is the What I Be Project. On the Changemaker HUB website, the organization outlines their mission and goals.

“The What I Be Project is a social experiment turned into what is now a global movement about honesty and empowerment,” the Changemaker HUB statement says. “In today’s society, we are often told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these ‘standards,’ we are often judged, ridiculed, bullied, and sometimes even killed over them. The WIB project was started by Steve Rosenfield with the hope that it would open up the lines of communication, and help everyone accept diversity with an open mind & heart. Everyone has a story and this project provides a creative outlet for us to bond over common ground and recognize that we all have insecurities. Ultimately we are more than our scars and struggles.”

Rosenfield, an acclaimed photographer who has gained a lot of press on the What I Be project, is coming to USD campus to feature students and staff, incorporating our sub-community into his global movement. This is a rare opportunity for students who are interested or already involved in changemaking to engage with someone who is truly looking to take this movement viral.

Rosenfield will be on campus taking photos for the project starting Feb. 15 – Feb. 20. The photography will take place in SOLES 101 every day from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. with each session lasting 45 minutes.

Rosenfield will be back on campus March 10 during USD Diversity Week for a gallery showing and lecture. This showing allows students who were unable to attend any of the photography sessions to meet and interact with him about the project, a unique opportunity that further brings together the USD community.

The Facebook page is now live for sign-ups, and spaces are filled on a first come, first serve basis. However, if all spaces are filled, it is recommended by the Changemaker HUB that you email them directly because there is a chance people may have something come up, allowing others to fill their spot.

This is a nationally recognized project by the likes of The Huffington Post, UPWORTHY, and BuzzFeed. You can check out more of Steve Rosenfield’s photos at whatibeproject.com and if you have any further questions email changemaker@sandiego.edu.

“He’s [Rosenfield] traveled the country taking the project to music festivals, conferences and some of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. including Princeton, Columbia, Duke, and George Washington,” USD Changemaker HUB statement says.

The What I Be Project is just a glimpse at what USD and other universities can do to bring large groups of individuals together to collaborate and create a multicultural, diverse, accepting, and educational platform where everyone can thrive. It is a safe haven, a place for people to celebrate one another and not be judged for the good, bad, and everything in-between.