Coming into Missouri State University as an openly-gay first-generation college student from a low income household, I wasn’t sure how I would be accepted on campus by my peers, professors, resident assistant, and even my roommate. I was lucky enough to have been awarded the Inclusive Excellence Leadership scholarship before I came to Missouri State.
This scholarship gave me a connection to the Multicultural Resource Center. Through that center, I was lucky enough to have found Bears LEAD. Bears LEAD is an organization that supports a diverse group of first-generation students to assist in the high-school to college transition.
When thinking of diversity, there are several components to be aware of. When individuals say “there is more than what meets the eye” this is a direct reflection of diversity. It may not always be something we can pick up by just looking at somebody. Components of race, gender, culture, religion, ability, sexuality, sex, and so many more are parts of our identity that make us who we are.
Starting this fall, we are going to be getting a new space for our Multicultural Resource Center for students of varying identities to visit and converse, learn, support, and engage with each other to create a more culturally conscious student body. This project has been in the works and encouraged by students for years so students are so excited to see this project come into fruition.
With the new Multicultural Resource Center, there are many resources that Multicultural Programs offer ALL students on campus that students should interact with to appreciate and value inclusion on campus. Within the Multicultural Resource Center there are several highlights of resources that students can utilize. There is a prayer room for students of different religions to go in and have a space they can pray and reflect.
There is a transitions closet for students transitioning genders where clothes can be provided to them as well as extra support from LGBTQ+ Student Services. There is also lounge space and a large space with flexible seating for students to study, interact, and get to know other students on campus.The Multicultural Resource Center serves as a safe space for students.
The Multicultural Resource Center offers a lot of amazing programming to educate our student body. These events are open to all Missouri State University students. I think it is so important that all Missouri State students try to attend some of the programs.
The programs are super informative, great to build cultural consciousness which falls under the cultural competency pillar for our Public Affairs Mission, and sometimes they even have free food. As a broke college student, I can’t forget to bring up the joys of going to an event and getting free food!
For our new Bears coming in this summer and fall, utilize this amazing opportunity to educate yourself on the value of inclusivity. Inclusive excellence will help you and our student body succeed now, and when you are asked about diversity and inclusion in your job interview or when you are asked to promote an initiative to increase inclusion in your workplace. These are real topics and initiatives employers are looking at our generation to change the way we value inclusivity.
The topic of diversity and inclusion will forever be changing day by day, week by week, month by month and so on. It is imperative to know we will never be experts of the topic. That is why it is important to keep learning and growing your knowledge. Beyond that, put that knowledge into practice in the organizations you join, communities you live in, and wherever you go on campus and beyond.
I am excited to see you all in the near future. I am SO EXCITED to see the new Multicultural Resource Center!
Have a great week! Follow Missouri State Multicultural Programs on Instagram @multiculturalprograms to check out the amazing Womxn’s Herstory Month events taking place this month!
(submitted by Michael Chapman (he/him/his); Missouri State University Junior | B.S. Public Relations; Orientation and Transition Programs | Orientation Assistant; Student Government Association | Speaker Pro Tempore; Beartones | Secretary; Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity)