A student studies for her next class in the new center. Photo by Sarvika Shetty.
By Kendra Hacker
The BSU Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion had its official opening Jan. 11 at the Upper Hobson Union with a ribbon cutting.
Located between the Student Senate offices and the Union information desk, this student-led initiative was originally thought up 11 years ago, but it wasn’t until recently that the idea became a reality.
A bill was written for the Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by Student Senate Chair Kale Hennek, Chair Peter Gable and Senator Eshfaq (Ash) Ullah three years ago. According to the Bemidji Pioneer, they wished for this center to be a unified area where students could freely discuss issues that occur because of being non-white or non-straight, while also creating activities and events where students can celebrate their cultures or identity. Not only will this allow students to have an area where they can discuss diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, but it will also help engage students all across campus.
President Hensrud stated that, “This center is extremely important as we all look to celebrate our differences and to see what it really means to be a community built upon mutual respect.”
The creation of the center is important to the future of BSU, because the university hopes to recruit and retain a more-diverse student body, hopefully by attracting hundreds more students and staff to the campus by 2023.
The center has the chance to bring students together in a way that has never been seen before at BSU. With an area that gives the opportunity for all students to discuss freely with one another, the Student Senate is hopeful that an understanding community will be created within the center, making BSU a campus where all students can feel welcomed.