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Irvine Valley College (IVC) will open a new Equity and Inclusion Center in March 2020. The center is part of IVC’s efforts to increase services geared towards serving students from backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, and to celebrate the diversity of the institution.

When Erin Pollard, IVC Interim Coordinator of Student Equity Programs and Services, asked for ideas on what should be included in the future center, Ziyah Jordan, a creative writing major at IVC, suggested painting a mural. They immediately jumped on the idea and brainstormed on what this mural would look like.

Ziyah not only suggested the idea but volunteered her talents and painted the mural herself. Her inspiration came from her recent trip to Austin, Texas, where she became fond of the postcards sold at various souvenir stores. One postcard in particular that caught her attention read “Greetings from Austin” in a giant block font. Ziyah pitched the idea of IVC having its own “Greetings from IVC” postcard design.

After the mural proposal was approved and the paint and materials purchased, the project took a total of 4 days over a one-month span to complete. Ziyah incorporated different elements that not only represented IVC but showcased its diversity. She painted various groups of people representing the LGBTQ, African American, and Middle Eastern communities, as well as many others. She also integrated IVC’s official color, blue.

Ziyah added a chalkboard area in the painting that made the mural interactive. With this addition, the painting becomes never truly finished, as the messages in the chalkboard area can continually change with the students who enter the new center. Ziyah said she wants students to “be part of the mural as well.”

Ziyah shared the importance of the new center as a “place where students can feel comfortable and be themselves,” she said. “They shouldn’t stop being themselves.”

One striking element of the mural is the phrase “We Are IVC.”

“I found a lot of my identity at IVC and learned a lot about myself through different classes and working for Student Equity,” Ziyah said. “We Are IVC is part of my identity, and if you become a student here, it’s going to be part of your identity. I’m happy that I found a place where I can be included and leave my mark."

The new Equity and Inclusion Center, which will be housed in the Student Activities Center, will welcome students of different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. They will be invited to relax, feel comfortable, have fun, and feel included, while feeling represented and welcomed at IVC.