Center for Inclusion and Diversity Welcomes SJU Community with Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for Renovated Space
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
by Molly Grab '17
After months of construction and preparation, Saint Joseph’s University’s newly renovated Center for Inclusion and Diversity held its grand opening on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, officiated by University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., was attended by students, faculty and staff. Located on the second floor of Campion Student Center, the remodeled center features a new reception area, lounge, conference room, study area, dedicated LGBTQ community space, and offices.
Monica Nixon, Ed.D., assistant provost for inclusion and diversity, looks forward to inviting students to the new center.
“We hope that all students and members of the SJU community see the center as a place where they can learn and belong,” Nixon says. “The Center for Inclusion and Diversity encompasses the team of staff and students who are leaders and partners for the University’s work around inclusion.”
The Office of Inclusion and Diversity (OID), previously known as the Office of Multicultural Life, was relocated from a different wing of Campion Student Center. Though students and staff used the area productively, it was decided that a larger, more thoughtfully built space would benefit the University’s efforts. Nixon believes that it will.
“The center provides a visible and accessible gathering place for community, dialogue and learning,” she says. “The space itself—its location, the creative design and pace of the renovation project — communicates the value of inclusion and diversity to the University.”
Architects John Pringle and Rachel Thurston of Stantec Architecture Inc. oversaw the design and renovation of the new center and were assisted by internal project manager Alex Oleykowski, ’01, of SJU Facilities Management. OID staff provided the team with their input to create a more welcoming place for students and faculty.
According to Cary Anderson, Ed.D., vice president for student life and associate provost, major changes were made to the interior of Campion Student Center to accomplish these goals.
“The hallway was taken out, and that’s allowed the 212 suite area to become a much larger space,” Anderson says. “Now this entire area of the Campion building has become a part of the Inclusion Center.
Anderson believes that the renovations not only provide the OID with a larger space, but will also allow the office to play a larger role on campus.
“Symbolically, the center says, ‘This is something that we value and we want people engaged in these types of dialogues,’” Anderson says. “So we wanted to put resources toward that to show that it’s important to the University.”
The center welcomes all students, whether they need to do homework in a study room, hold a club meeting in the conference space, use the LGBTQ community room to plan an upcoming event or speak one-on-one with a staff member in their office. For Nixon, this welcoming atmosphere contributes to the “positive feel of the space.”
Anderson agrees. “It provides a space for all students—and I really want to emphasize the word ‘all’—to come talk, think about and reflect on issues of inclusion and diversity,” he says.