Inclusivity Resource Center Celebrates One Year on Queens Campus

Inclusivity Resource Center Celebrates One Year on Queens Campus

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Inclusivity Resource Center Celebrates One Year on Queens Campus

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The Inclusivity Resource Center celebrated its one year anniversary this past week on Tuesday, Oct. 1. With a mixer in Sun Yat Sen equipped with food, music and an appearance by Johnny Thunderbird, this anniversary was a celebration of one year’s worth of accomplishments.

The Inclusivity Resource Center (IRC) opened October 2018, after student unrest and protests took place the previous year. The center acts as a hosts social justice trainings for students, workshops, as well as counseling services. Student organizations can also reserve the main room in the center. 

The center also hosts events sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, including four heritage month celebrations, Common Ground Dialogues where students engage in peer-led open discussions about different societal issues and the Diversity Peer Education program. 

Monique Jerrigan, the executive director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, describes the role of the IRC as not only being the place where these events are hosted, but as a safe space for students across campus.

“We are already an inclusive institution, but we need to become more inclusive. The reason that the center was created was because students were saying that, ‘hey, I don’t feel included, I don’t feel supported, you’re not seeing me.’” Jerrigan continued in her opening remarks to the center’s visitors. 

The center is also home to a counseling center in partnership with the Center for Counseling and Consultation located in Marillac, where students can meet with Dr. Janine O’Brian for twenty minute walk-in counseling sessions on Tuesdays. 

“It is an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of Marillac, it’s much calmer here, it’s a lot more serene. Hopefully more students come, if they need to see a counselor they can come here.” Elizabeth Ponce de Leon, department assistant at the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said.

“A whole lot is always going on here, it’s always something different, and students are more than welcome to come and hang out, or even reserve the space.” She continued. 

It is also home to the only two gender neutral bathrooms on campus. 

“I am a trans person, and I actually really appreciate the gender neutral bathrooms that they have here, so I actually come here whenever I feel uncomfortable using a public restroom,” Andy Ma said, junior and president of Spectrum. “But in general, all the people here are really nice, so I enjoy coming here when I need a breather.”

In an address to those present at the mixer, Ma spoke of the student protests that had taken place in the years prior, both on Queens campus and the Staten Island campus in the years he has been a student.

“I remember feeling like, students need to help other students, they need to make each other feel like this campus is a place where they can feel accepted and comfortable,” He said. “And so, the thing about the IRC is that it’s a very important space. I really, really appreciate it being here, because it is a space for people of color, people in the LGBT community, and for people in general who are of minority status to come here and feel accepted and welcome.” 

As for the future development of the IRC, the center is now in the process of trying to brand themselves on campus – with a seven-to-eight-person student worker team, the center is working to use social media to raise awareness about their presence on campus. They are also looking to have signature IRC events. 

“I hope that we can extend our reach to more people, and more people come here and use this space as much as they can.” Ma said.

“We are open for the feedback,” Jerrigan said. “We want to make sure everything we do is we do is for the students – student center, student first.”

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