The Intercultural Center (IC) has become a gathering place for many students and, through its programs, offers them a chance to explore diverse aspects of their evolving identity and build community through engaging with others.
Last academic year, the IC organized 20 programs, including five Cultural Nights, four Cultural Graduate Celebrations, weekly programs, the Diversity Retreat and the Diversity Dance. A total of 632 students – nearly a quarter of the entire undergraduate student body – participated in IC programs. More than half of those students were white, more than double the percentage of white students who attended programs the year before.This can be attributed to an intentional effort on the part of the IC to build allies and focus on intersections of identity that go beyond race and ethnicity.
Events organized by the Intercultural Center continue to be more popular than ever. All of the Cultural Nights sold out, as did the Diversity Dance, for the first time in the past five years.
The IC customized two of its Safe zone workshops for Public Safety officers and future teachers so that they could help increase the safety of LGBTQIA students. When a hate crime occurred in the Intercultural Center in fall 2011 involving homophobic vandalism, the event galvanized the Saint Mary’s community to demonstrate their support for the LGBTQIA community through art.
To further expand its influence, the IC will launch the Intercultural Development program in January with “Connect,” a year-long series of activities dedicated to building inclusive community within first-year residence halls.
A tier two Intercultural Development program called “Invest” will be offered next academic year for students who want to further engage in deeper dialogues about ally behavior, intersectionality, diversity, and social justice.