College of Coastal Georgia News

College opens Intercultural Resource Center to support students
Posted 08/31/2020 12:07PM

By Lauren MacDonald

College of Coastal Georgia recently opened its new Intercultural Resource Center on its Brunswick campus.

(Photo by Lauren McDonald/The Brunswick News)

The space, located inside the Student Activity Center on College of Coastal Georgia's Brunswick campus, has had many uses, but all have had a single purpose — to offer support to students.

Following a recent remodel and rebranding, the space today serves as the college's new Intercultural Resource Center, which is intended to provide a supportive space for students, in particular students of color, LGBTQ+ students, low-income students, first-generation students and other traditionally underserved populations.

"This newly established Intercultural Resource Center, this space is a physical representation of our commitment to progress," said Michelle Johnston, president of the college, during a recent ribbon cutting ceremony. "It's our commitment to supporting each other."

The space includes huge, comfortable couches, computers, charging stations, a television. The resource center will also serve as a place where students who are passionate about diversity and social justice can learn the skills to create inclusive environments on campus.

The new space came about through conversations between students and college administrators, who brainstormed ways to meet students' needs.

"Students, I hope that you all will find the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Intercultural Resource Center, aka the IRC, as a place to find community, to find home, to find a greater connection to the college here and a greater connection to yourself," said Quinton Staples, director of diversity initiatives at the college.

The Student Activity Center facility, built in 1973, has long been a place where students have come together to learn, to seek help and to gather," Johnston said.

"So what a perfect space on our campus for a center like this," she said.

The room that now houses the IRC was once used for classes like welding, and students would take the knowledge learned during discussion there out into the field for hands-on application. Later, the space served as a computer lab for student athletes to receive tutoring and study together.

The space most recently served as the college's call center, where community members to seek guidance.

"And that's how the space was used when I first came here to the college," Johnston said. "So it was the place where most of the calls came into the college, and they were located in that room, and you had staff there who would spend hours everyday helping students with questions and providing assistance."

The core purpose — to create a space that offers support — will continue with the IRC.

"It's a space for our community to gather and to collaborate with one another, like it has been in many of its other uses," Johnston said. "But a place where we can come to seek guidance on things we don't understand ... and perhaps most importantly a place where we are exposed to new thoughts, to new ideas and skills that we can then, just like it's been done before in this space, take it out into the community and our world to make it better and a more inclusive place."

Republished with the permission of The Brunswick News. Originally published in The Brunswick News.

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