The Center for Student Cultural Diversity is getting a new name this semester. The Center Every Student. Every Story’s new mission is to make the space more inclusive to people from every way of life.
Blane Harding, the director of the newly renamed The Center Every Student. Every Story, has wanted to change the name and direction since coming to the university in June 2015.
“There is a need for a space where we can bring students of all different identities together,” Harding said.
The majority of the students that come into The Center are students of color, and while the University of Nevada, Reno, has over 21,000 students enrolled, only 700 of them — a little more than 3 percent — are black.
Harding wants to change The Center from a cultural center to an inclusive space for people of all different backgrounds. Whether they are white, involved in Greek life or disabled, it is a place for all students to be.
Cultural centers started in the 1960s as an academic center for students of color on predominantly white campuses. While Harding believes that the need for a space like that exists, he wants The Center to be more.
“When students eventually graduate from this institution or any other institution in the country, they are going to be out there working with people that are different than themselves,” Harding said. “They’re going to be out there working with people that have different identities, different backgrounds, different experiences, and what a better place to make yourself comfortable with that concept than on a college campus?”
To accomplish this, Harding wants to bring all students together.
One way The Center does this is by hosting Diversity Dialogues. They have occurred once a month ever since December 2015. Students gather to talk about a variety of subjects, such as diversity in the classroom and faculty, Hispanic-Serving Institution status and more.
Students, staff and anyone else who wants to join in on the conversation or learn more about diversity are welcome to attend.
The Center celebrates each heritage month and encourages students of other backgrounds to join. They also hold events for gay awareness and Coming Out Day.
Staff can help students fill out any financial aid forms they might need help with, such as the FAFSA. They offer academic and personal advising to anyone who may need it. They also provide help to undocumented students.
The Center offers Safe Zone training for anyone who wants to learn more about the LGBTQ community. Students can sign up individually, as a group or as part of their club or organization.
The Center Every Student. Every Story is open on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Madeline Purdue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.