First, the center will be inclusive and open to all, regardless of background, identity, viewpoint, or values. It will aspire to be inviting to all students and to actively create opportunities for the broadest possible range of students to learn and use the space. The goal will be for the resource center to be utilized in a variety of ways by students, faculty, and staff. It will be a training resource for those who want to learn more about themselves and others, a source of support for students from less represented backgrounds, and a place that thrives on the intellectual exchange of varied viewpoints and perspectives by all.
Here are some examples of potential uses of the center by the community:
- First-generation students or international students go to the center to access a new mentoring program designed to help them navigate college;
- LGBTQ students join regular educational programs centered on their well-being;
- Students of color work with resource center staff to organize reading groups, dialogues, and discussions about race and ethnicity and their effects on lives and societies;
- Female and male students attend a series of workshops on negotiating the workplace (in collaboration with career services);
- Students from different religious, political, or national identities organize dialogues bridging polarized communities;
- Faculty fellows associated with the center hold office hours, employ student research assistants who contribute to the intellectual programs of the center, and organize dialogues;
- Student organizations can use smaller offices as hoteling spaces for office hours and event planning. This includes Gen-U, SOURCE, Mi Gente, ASCMC, etc.;
- Staff would have check-in lunches with their mentees.
The center will host frequent, stimulating events that are open to all and designed to promote meaningful conversations and learning. Ultimately, through its programming and outreach, the resource center will act as an intentional community-building space for groups who wouldn’t normally interact with one another, e.g. events that bring together, say, athletes and LGBTQ student groups, or affinity group members and international students, and so on.
The educational purpose of the space will be further reinforced by a resource library that will contain relevant magazines, journals, books, films, and multimedia resources, as well as comfortable designated spaces to read, discuss, study, and relax.
In short, the resource center will be a dynamic space where, at any given point, different people with different interests converge in a relaxed setting and learn from one another.
Second, and related to the open nature of the space, the center will be dedicated to the principle of pluralism in thought, beliefs, and perspectives. It will not institutionalize a single way of thinking, but will instead reflect the core values of the college in focusing on complex issues in ways that are thoughtful, critical, respectful, and interdisciplinary. Whether in the selection of faculty fellows, speakers, reading topics, books in the library, and so on, pluralism and a willingness to question assumptions will be a standard to which all people in the space adhere. Related, high standards of civility, respect, and appreciation for differences will constantly be modeled and required.