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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Campus

New Diversity Center strengthens PLU’s commitment to multiculturalism and an inclusive campus

By Katherine Hedland '88

Eva Frey '95
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY: Eva Frey ’95, associate director for multicultural affairs.

Including students, staff and faculty from different racial, ethnic, social and religious backgrounds is a cornerstone of PLU’s mission. But some minority students have been wanting a place they can call their own.

The Diversity Center opened on the lower level of the University Center this fall. It replaces the tiny office in the Student Leadership and Involvement office that the Multicultural Resource Center used to occupy. With some departments changing locations, space opened next door to the coffee shop, allowing expansion.

The new center is designed to enhance PLU’s commitment to having a welcoming, inclusive campus.

“It shows PLU’s commitment to diversity and PLU’s mission and dedication to multiculturalism,” said Eva Frey ’95, associate director for multicultural affairs. “We want to provide a sense of ownership. If you are a student in an underrepresented group, we need to create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive to you.”

Students believe having a dedicated diversity center will help draw and keep students of color. It has long been a goal to have a larger, more permanent home.

“If you want to attract students to a place, you can’t just show them an office,” said LeAnne Jones, ASPLU’s diversity director.

The center allows more room for the increasingly diverse groups on campus to meet. Organized groups now include: the Korean Club, Hawaii Club, Asian Pacific Islander Club, B.L.A.C.K.@PLU, Puentes for Latino students, Harmony for supporters of gay and lesbian students, the Feminist Student Union, the Diversity Coalition, Norwegian and other international student groups and social activists.

In addition, the university’s four diversity advocates— students chosen to provide leadership support and resources to students—will have more room to work.

“It will provide a specific, dedicated space for collaboration and cooperation with other campus organizations,” Frey said.

The Diversity Center intends to work closely with other groups like the Women’s Center and International Programs. The university seeks to cultivate an inclusive environment that teaches people to see differences as opportunities to expand their cultural horizons, accept diverse perspectives as a reflection of the complexity of our world and recognize the universality of diversity. That includes people of different ages, physical ability and sexual orientation.

Many new programs and events were held last year, and the opening of the Diversity Center promises more exciting and informational activities this year as well.

For links to PLU's new Diversity Center and other multicultural resources, visit encore!

 


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