Viral international education campaign #YouAreWelcomeHere unveils 2019 national scholarship program

Eastern Michigan University helps lead the way, along with Temple University and seven other higher education partners

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University, together with Temple University, leader of the widespread #YouAreWelcomeHere social media campaign to encourage international students to study in the United States, and seven other U.S. college and university partners, is launching a national scholarship program for incoming international students for fall 2019.

The other partners include Concordia College (Minnesota), James Madison University (Virginia), the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Purdue University Northwest (Indiana), Seattle University, Shoreline Community College (Washington) and Western New England University (Massachusetts).

This new scholarship will provide financial support for incoming international students who are committed to furthering the #YouAreWelcomeHere message through intercultural exchange that bridges divides at their future campuses and beyond.  

Eastern's commitment to international students

“Eastern Michigan University is proud to help launch the #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship, which continues to advance our powerful commitment to international students and to campus-wide globalization,” said Rhonda Longworth, provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs at Eastern.

Participating colleges and universities will offer an annual, renewable scholarship that covers a minimum of 50 percent of recipients’ tuition.

“The #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign has built new bridges of goodwill between U.S. higher education and students worldwide,” said Jessica Sandberg, Temple University’s director of international admissions and campaign spokesperson.

“This scholarship is our way of meeting students halfway across that bridge. It advances the campaign through meaningful action, adding concrete support for international students to our already well-received message and providing those students with a way to expand the conversation.”

Sandberg and representatives from other participating institutions will present more details of this new initiative to international education colleagues at the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference in Philadelphia at 3 p.m., Tuesday, May 29.

Other efforts at Eastern include banners, videos

The scholarship expands Eastern’s already extensive efforts in the campaign, which includes a highly visible banner initiative featuring 120 individual international students. The banners were placed on light-posts around the campus and on major roadways in Ypsilanti. The University also placed a large banner featuring all 120 international students on its parking structure, with other banners located around campus.

In addition, a #YouAreWelcomeHere video features multiple students, staff and faculty members, and The University also has developed the #YouAreWelcomeHere website to provide a comprehensive resource to international students and scholars, with links to important offices that support Eastern’s international community on campus.

Eastern also teamed up with the Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau to offer a further local touch, producing a video, narrated by Ypsilanti mayor Amanda Edmonds that spotlights the distinct and welcoming character of Ypsilanti and the University. 

Eastern currently hosts nearly 1,000 international students from more than 80 nations.

Keeping America globally competitive

“Especially in the wake of the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from our policy leaders, it’s vital that U.S. institutions find ways to make international students and scholars feel welcome and valued on our campuses and in our communities,” stated Esther D. Brimmer, executive director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

“We need more programs like this one that encourage international students to choose the United States as their study destination. Investing in international education will ensure our nation remains globally competitive and engaged, and I am heartened to see the U.S. higher education community take a proactive stance in this effort.”

The #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship program has early commitments from several universities, and Sandberg expects that many more will join in the coming months. “We hope other colleges and universities will see the scholarship announcement as a call to action,” Sandberg said, outlining her vision for broad participation among U.S. higher education institutions.

For institutions interested in sponsoring a #YouAreWelcomeHere scholarship, visit the campaign website for instructions, a pledge and a sign-up form. The deadline for participation for the 2019 scholarship is Aug. 15, 2018.

About the #YouAreWelcomeHere Campaign

Following expressions of apprehension by some international students about studying in the U.S., in November 2016, Temple University expanded the #YouAreWelcomeHere hashtag into an international campaign to ensure that international students at U.S. universities and colleges feel welcome in the United States. Since then, more than 350 colleges and universities, 60 international education companies and organizations, and 20 high schools have joined. Institutions can follow the campaign on the website that Temple maintains,, which includes a toolkit for promoting the campaign.

In recognition of its leadership efforts, the campaign has received several national awards. In 2017, The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized Temple International Admissions Director Jessica Sandberg on its prestigious 2017 Influence List for her role in developing the campaign. The campaign has also received awards from ACPA-College Student Educators International and CUPRAP (College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals).

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

May 24, 2018

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom