Katia Faroun | Features Editor
Duquesne’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion got an upgrade, set with a new space, new offices and a new name.
The new Center for Excellence in Diversity and Student Inclusion — previously the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) — marked its official grand opening on Tuesday with an afternoon open house. The event welcomed members of the Duquesne community to tour the new space, learn about the center’s programs and activities and meet the staff and students involved in the center.
Now located in Room 302 of the Student Union, the center is now in a more central, active location and has more space than it did in its previous office on the first floor.
The center’s move to the third floor was key for better engagement with students, according to Anthony Kane, director of diversity and inclusion at Duquesne.
“It was important for us to be in a spot where students could be with us and engage with us,” Kane said.
The third floor of the Union is the “hub of student activities,” according to Kane, which allows students to have easier access to the center and makes the center more visible for students who might be in need of its resources.
“Most students make their way to the third floor of the Union at some point in the day,” Kane said, and this new location for the center will allow it to be more engaged with the student population.
Besides bringing a change of space, the center’s upgrade also comes with a re-commitment to diversity at Duquesne, focusing on all students with diverse backgrounds.
“We want to expand our outreach to support all students of diverse populations,” Kane said.
This commitment is important to Duquesne students, including Merecedes Williams, a senior multiplatform journalism major who has witnessed the center’s changes over her more than 10 years at the university.
“I hope it remains a community for students of all descents,” Williams said.
The family-oriented, community aspect of the center is what Jean Cherilus, a university advancement associate at Duquesne, hopes to continue to see through the center’s changes.
“I hope it continues to be like a safe space for students of color,” Cherilus said.
Although the grand opening just took place this week, the new center has been in the works since the summer as part of Duquesne’s commitment to creating a more inclusive environment on campus. The center’s staff began moving into their new offices in mid-March.
In a campus-wide email sent March 15, President Ken Gormley notified the Duquesne community of the new center, saying that its creation is part of Duquesne’s Action Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
“The new Center will build on the legacy of ODI’s student-facing programming to expand its focus on excellence into classroom environments, community engagement and preparation for professional success,” Gormley wrote.
The idea for creating a new space for the center came from a conversation with Duquesne’s Black Student Union, where members recommended creating “a centrally located space where students from diverse populations could gather and support one another,” according to the email.
The new location and the opportunities it brings to the center will allow its staff to provide Duquesne students with the engagement, care and resources they need — something that students, like Williams, have already benefited from.
“I hope it continues to deposit strength in students of colors’ lives, as it has in mine,” Williams said.