Thanks to an initiative by Utrecht University student Elias van Mourik (22), Utrecht in The Netherlands will have the longest rainbow cycle path in the world. The cycle path will be located in the Utrecht Science Park. For the realization, Hogeschool Utrecht, Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht want to show that everyone is welcome to be who they are.
Elias, who is a student at Hogeschool Utrecht, is pleased that his idea for a rainbow cycle path has been embraced by the three institutions and will be realized during the international Pride Month. “A lot of people live, work and study at the Utrecht Science Park. That’s why it’s great that you get a symbol at such a location that shows that everyone is accepted.”
With a length of 570 meters, the Utrecht cycle path will also become the longest rainbow cycle path in the world. “Go big or go home”, laughs HU student Elias. “Why build a one-meter bike path when you also have the space to make the world’s longest rainbow bike path?” The student hopes that the symbol contributes to a sense of acceptance and inspires others to actively contribute to diversity and inclusion.
Although the rainbow flag that is placed on the bicycle path is a symbol of the LGBTIQ+ community, all parties involved want to use the bicycle path to send a signal about diversity and inclusion in the broadest sense of the word. “We want to show that everyone can be themselves and that they are welcome in the Utrecht Science Park,” says Elena Valbusa, Diversity Officer of Hogeschool Utrecht. “Everyone, so regardless of your color, sexual orientation, cultural background, but also regardless of your disability or the income of your parents. We prefer to look at people, with everyone’s own talents and qualities and how we can develop them further.”
In addition, the parties involved are using the rainbow cycle path to launch together a substantive program on diversity and inclusion. Due to corona, the kick-off of that program will take place in the autumn. Janneke Plantenga, diversity dean of Utrecht University: “There are already various initiatives in the field of diversity and inclusion within HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht, but we think this is a good reason to also organize a number of activities together.
For example, the idea is to organize a lecture series. Or tell the stories that the bicycle path stands for in a podcast series. In the coming months we will start working on the exact details. We are determined to make something beautiful together.”
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