VCU students distribute LGBT-themed coffee sleeves to promote equality



RICHMOND, Va. — A group of students at Virginia Commonwealth University created 1,000 coffee sleeves with depictions of local LGBT individuals that it distributed Tuesday at Richmond area coffee shops in an effort to support equality.


“Our goal is to promote acceptance and tolerance in the community,” said Megan Maloney, one of several students involved. “To really just show that everyone is people.” The project arose from a VCU undergraduate course titled Design Rebels, meant to study and create socially conscious graphic design.

The group initiated the project by interviewing four local LGBT individuals. The group then placed a quotation from each interviewed person, along with a monochrome image of them, on a coffee sleeve.

The project team chose a sleeve as its medium because they’re subtle and “wasn’t too in your face,” Maloney said. “We wanted it to be something that people didn’t notice on the first glance.”

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“We’re not trying to do a political thing, just really trying to connect on a human level,” Maloney said. The faux ingredient box on each sleeve titled Human (see image below) will be checked off to underscore the humanness of LGBT community members.

“We’re all human, and that’s the whole point of the project we’re doing,” she said.

The group hopes to continue the project, funding another production of 1,000 sleeves for further distribution next week.

People can make a tax-deductible donation to the project through the group’s community partner, The James House, to continue supporting the project’s life.

The group is also working on a documentary video that will showcase the project’s work.

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