Culture centers look to continue intersection of diversity



For a student who identifies with multiple communities on campus, choosing a culture center to visit regularly can be a struggle, and can cause them to identify with one aspect of themselves more than another.

Through co-sponsored programs, initiatives and advising sessions, the culture centers on campus have increased their interactions with one another and look forward to doing so in the coming semesters, culture center directors like Doug Bauder said.

“We’re seen as a team in the best sense of the word,” LGBTQ+ Culture Center Director Doug Bauder said.

He explained most of the programming through his center this year was co-sponsored by other organizations on campus. He said in a previous interview that he believes the intersection of the culture centers is important because people identify with multiple groups on campus and should not have to pick one over the other.

One of La Casa Latino Cultural Center’s largest programs, its Day of the Dead event, this semester was a partnership with LGBTQ+ Culture Center, First Nations Educational and Cultural Center and the Canterbury House, La Casa Director Lillian Casillas said.

“We try to do a variety of programming to entice a variety of interests,” Casillas said.

During the year, a panel of culture center directors took place at an academic adviser diversity training session. There, the directors discussed concerns of minority students at the centers. Asian Culture Center Director Melanie Castillo-Cullather said it was well-received by the advisers. In addition, First Nations Educational and Cultural Center Director Nicky Belle said there are monthly meetings between the culture center directors to discuss how they can better work together.

The ACC saw their biggest accomplishments this year come from partnerships with a variety of organizations on campus, Castillo-Cullather said. She said a strong community was necessary given the current political climate.

“When the work that you do is being attacked, more than ever we need solidarity,” she said.

Some of the culture center directors said they saw an increase in foot traffic at their respective centers this year and a lot of it may have had to do with politics. Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Director Monica Johnson said in an email that she was proud of how her center acted as a safe place and resource for students, staff, faculty and Bloomington community members.

“I love that Indiana University has individual culture centers that celebrate the individual racial/ethnic identities that we have,” Johnson said in an email. “I also look forward to a continued partnership and exploration of our beautiful intersections.”

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