Southern Utah University’s Center for Diversity and Inclusion held its opening social on Tuesday, Oct. 5 to show students that the center is welcome to everyone.
People mingled while eating pizza, cupcakes and cookies while sipping refreshments provided by CDI staff. Students could play games like Jenga and Twister or sing karaoke.
The CDI was created with the purpose to be a safe place for any student, especially minority populations like people of color and LGBTQ people, so they can freely be who they are without judgment at SUU.
Students can find the CDI office in ST 101 and ST 102 to receive help from advisors and peer mentors called Beacons.
“I really could’ve used this resource on campus as a first-year student,” said Vanessa Arreola, a Beacon in the office. “My fellow Beacons and I try to make students feel more included and welcome here.”
Landry Igiraneza, the coordinator for the CDI, also described the organization as a brave space where there are difficult discussions with students who want to know more. Igiraneza and Donielle Savoie, the director for the CDI, want to make sure students’ voices are heard and can be protected.
Students of any demographic can join their clubs and are welcome to any event hosted throughout the semester.
“The center is open to everyone because we can not do it without our allies, and we try to be allies to our allies,” said Igiraneza.
The CDI coordinates its events based on cultural months. Hispanic Heritage month is currently happening and Native American Heritage month starts in November, so the center does its best to support students and make them the highlight.
The center spreads awareness about their events through a newsletter released every other Monday. Students can also find events on their Google calendar.
Igiraneza emphasized in these divided times, students deserve more advocacy and visibility. The goal at the end of the day is to ensure students know that regardless of what is happening in society, it should not impact how they feel about themselves.
For more event information, students should check out the CDI website.
Story & Photos By: Addie Horsley