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Belonging Style Guide

This style guide is for communications and marketing professionals who work for the University of Utah. The U celebrates all of our staff, students, trainees, and faculty by striving to make our campus a welcoming environment. The ways in which we communicate with each other should always seek to honor the humanity of each person who crosses paths with our institution, where no one perspective is more worthy than another. In the content that we create, we have a responsibility to use language and images that are respectful to people of all cultures, backgrounds, identities, and experiences. 

University Marketing & Communications and U of U Health Marketing & Communications have collaborated with experts across the U campus to create this style guide, modeled after many other resources. It aims to provide thoughtful, practical guidance when speaking to or about:

  • Age
  • Faith and religion (coming soon)
  • Gender
  • Health and mental health (coming soon)
  • Immigration, international, refugee status
  • People with disabilities
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Socioeconomics

This is not intended to be a quick-reference guide. Learning why certain terms are preferred, or not preferred, is just as important as using the appropriate term itself. When consulting the guide, we encourage you to read the section in its entirety to better understand the larger context. This guide is the first step in what will be an evolving document.

Language around many groups is changing rapidly and, in some cases, there lacks consensus within communities regarding what is the most respectful language to use. In all cases, ask yourself if including a certain identity is necessary for the content. If it is, always ask your subject what language they prefer and verify that they are comfortable with the information being made public.

If you have concerns, questions, or suggestions please send us feedback here.