The BYU Dean of Students Office will host a “BYU Belong Concert” this Friday featuring student and faculty voices, BYU performances and singer-songwriter David Archuleta, according to the BYU Belong Website.
The concert is scheduled for 7-9:30 p.m. at Helaman Fields and will feature video vignette stories by six students, a faculty member and staff member, which organizers hope will create a campus culture of unity and belonging. There will also be performances from BYU’s Noteworthy, Vocal Point and Cougarette groups, with Archuleta headlining the event.
Honor Code Administrator Ben Schilaty is helping organize the event. He said the vignette stories will be shown in between performances and will focus on the participants’ perspectives of what belonging looks like to them, when they felt seen and heard, when they felt like they contributed and what they did to find their place at BYU. Participants will come from different racial backgrounds, nationalities, religions, native languages, sexual orientations and mental health challenges. The goal is for all students who attend the event to realize that they, too, have a place at BYU.
Associate Dean of Students Nathan Ward expressed his excitement in welcoming students back on campus and having them safely gather and participate in this concert after 18 months.
“We really want to have a situation where people realize they have a lot more in common with their fellow students than they have that’s different,” Ward said.
Marissa Gilson, inclusion advisor at the Office of Student Success and Inclusion, is working with the Dean of Students Office and its concert committee.
“Our main hope is that students will see themselves in the students that are sharing, but also hear different perspectives. We have a diverse group of students across campus, and we are trying to get as many perspectives as possible of ways that we can do better at creating belonging on campus,” Gilson said.
Schilaty believes the feature stories will be the highlight of the evening. “The real power in this event is in sharing stories. Really getting to know our community is what knits our hearts together and creates a sense of belonging.”
He said event organizers hope the concert will encourage members of the BYU community to have a real “Christlike curiosity” about those around them.