Western Michigan University’s New Student Center Focuses on Diversity and Inclusion

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KALAMAZOO, Michigan—The new student center set to open in fall 2022 on the Western Michigan University campus features spaces intentionally designed to foster a welcoming, inclusive, and student-centered space guided by student work. a Committee on Institutional Diversity and Multiculturalism (IDM).

Beginning in 2018 and continuing through 2020, the IDM committee worked with diversity consultants from CannonDesign, a Chicago-based architectural firm, to plan the design and layout of the new student center. The IDM committee included representatives from across campus with a focus on students from various affinity groups, such as the Black Student Union, Latino Student Alliance, Western Student Association, Association of Graduate Students and Services for Students with Disabilities. The committee process focused on thinking about a student-centered approach while balancing community use of UGM. The departments and services that will reside in the building will continue to adopt the direction of the IDM committee in the planning process.

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“WMU students want a place where they can be themselves and share their culture and lived experiences with others,” says Paul Terzino, director of the Bernhard Center. “When this happens, positive engagement flows and students are enriched by learning more about the world outside of their comfort zone. It will be a welcoming, inclusive and supportive place for all who enter. »

[NOTE: This article was originally published by WMU News. Used with permission. All rights reserved.]

A tribal blanket donated to the University by representatives of the Three Fires Confederacy will be on display.

Central to the IDM Committee’s attention was the creation of a space centered around student inclusion and engagement. The ideas and discussions that took place within this collaborative group resulted in new features for the student center, including a Mosaic Affinity Space, which will be a five-room suite for programs, meetings, gatherings and cultural and affinity events, as well as a “wall of voices” that will feature student photos and quotes.

The new student center will also display a gifted tribal blanket donated to the University by representatives of the Three Fires Confederacy. The cover will be located on the first level in front of the UGM bookstore and accompanied by the following field recognition declaration:

“We would like to acknowledge that Western Michigan University is located on lands historically occupied by the Ojibwe, Odawa and Bodewadmi nations. Please take a moment to acknowledge and honor this ancestral land of the Three Fires Confederacy, the sacred lands of all Indigenous peoples and their continued presence.

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