Multilingual signage created for buildings on campus


Maddy Bruce/ Knight

New multilingual signs will be spread around campus inside buildings, including the mailroom, the Health & Counseling Center, the library and Beyer Hall.

Madeline Bruce, Editor-in-Chief

As part of the ongoing events at Gannon University centered around multilingual signage, the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (CHESS) held a multilingual signage exhibition Tuesday afternoon.

The exhibition is the third in a series of events focused on the topics that are part of the CHESS Reinventing Right Now speaker series.

Previous events included a speaker event, The Need for Multilingual Signage, held Feb. 8, and Ask, Create and Find: A Multilingual Signage Workshop, held Feb. 22.

Tuesday’s event provided an opportunity for the students who participated in the workshop to display the multilingual signs they made that include languages spoken by Gannon students, Carolyn Baugh, Ph.D., associate professor in the history department, said.

“We hope that students whose languages are represented will feel more at home on our campus,” she said.

“It’s not necessarily an issue of ‘needing a translation’ of things like ‘library,’ but it’s an affirmation that our university recognizes all this diversity.”

Languages included on the signs at the exhibition are English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Nepalese, Vietnamese and Hindi.

“For me, it’s nice to see this representation as a student who speaks a language other than English,” Claudia Herrero, a senior public service and global affairs major, said.

Baugh said another reason behind the implementation of multilingual signage on campus is to raise awareness both in the Gannon community and the Erie community.

“We can model for the city of Erie an eagerness to acknowledge who is in our community,” she said.

“Anyone going down Sixth or Seventh streets would be able to see a multilingual sign saying ‘library’ and realize that Erie is a vibrant center for people from all over.”

Martha Kosir, Ph.D., director of the foreign languages program at Gannon, said that the signage will contribute to the uniqueness of Gannon’s campus.

“This would make our campus quite unique,” she said.

“At the same time, we are hoping our campus can inspire similar efforts in the Erie community, especially in assisting the refugee population.”

The signs on display at the exhibition were prototypes of the signs students designed at the workshop on Feb. 22.

The students made signs for the UKnighted Store, Police & Safety, the Mailroom, the Health & Counseling Center, the Nash Lbrary, the Recreation & Wellness Center and Beyer Hall Cafeteria.

Josh Perrin, a junior criminal justice major, said that the signage on display at the exhibition furthers Gannon’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

“The implementation of multilingual signage speaks directly to inclusivity,” he said.

“It shows that we have multiple languages spoken on campus. That, and if you’re here to learn English, it will help you to see your native language on there as well.”

Those in attendance at the exhibition had the opportunity to learn about the work completed so far and give feedback on the prototypes, the spaces on campus that need multilingual signage and any other improvements that can be made to the work already done.

“This is a work in progress, so we are looking forward to any feedback we can receive,” Kosir said.

“This exhibition also represents an opportunity to learn more about the linguistic and cultural richness here on Gannon’s campus.”

Students and faculty involved in the multilingual signage workshop and exhibition are continuing to work toward implementing the signs on campus.

The next steps include picking designs, pursuing a budget and gaining permission to proceed.

“We see this as a potentially multi-phase, long-term project that will only increase with time and the ever-expanding body of international students,” Baugh said.



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