As part of ongoing diversity and inclusion efforts at Ithaca College, a new multicultural student lounge has opened in the Campus Center.
Director of Programs and Outreach Sean Eversley Bradwell says that the lounge gives all students, especially, African, Latino, Asian and Native American (ALANA) students, a space where they can relax and be themselves. Previously, students have voiced concern that there wasn't such a space on campus.
“We hope that this is a space where multicultural students feel that they can come and feel comfortable,” said Bradwell. “Where they can come to recharge and not worry about being misunderstood or singled out based on their race or culture.”
Located in room 340 on the third floor of the Campus Center, the 250-square-foot lounge has room to fit 10-15 students comfortably. It will be open for use during the normal operating hours of the Campus Center: 7:30 a.m.-midnight, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.-midnight on Saturday; and 10 a.m.-midnight on Sunday.
The lounge is meant to be an informal space for students to gather in a supportive and respectful environment in order to relax, engage in discussion and debate issues and concerns relevant to them.
The Campus Center previously housed two student lounges, one of which functioned as an unofficial meeting space for ALANA students. They were closed in 2007 when renovations were made to the building. Bradwell says the importance of that space for the college’s ALANA community was underestimated.
In the past 10 years, the ALANA student population at Ithaca College has more than doubled, from 10 percent of the total population in 2006 to 20.3 percent in 2016. Bradwell says such a change necessitates intentional thinking about ALANA students’ experience on campus.
“An official lounge on campus does not negate our campus responsibility of making students feel included all over the campus,” said Bradwell.
While the lounge is currently used as an informal space for students, Bradwell says the campus community can expect events and programs in the future, including student organization meetings. There are also plans to install television and computer monitors to enable the lounge to function as a collaborative work space.
The lounge is part of the suite of offices housing the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity, which recently moved to the third floor of the Campus Center.
“It’s much more accessible by students during their daily activities on campus,” said Bradwell. “The whole office suite provides space to grow into the academic unit that CSCRE has been striving for, which includes offices and faculty for all four CSCRE minors.”