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Creating a culture of inclusion

Two students walk together, smiling and holding books, near the walkway to the Oregon State University Pride Center, which serves LGBTQ+ students.

The Pride Center provides programs and support services for LGBTQ members of the OSU community and their allies. Pictured above, two students interact outside the Pride Center. Photo courtesy Julie Cooper.

OSU’s cultural resource centers foster feelings of belonging

By Julie Cooper
Aug. 4, 2017

During Oregon State University Summer Session, the demand for student support doesn’t take a break. Neither do those addressing it.

Student and professional staff members at OSU’s cultural resource centers (CRCs) work year-round to provide inclusive spaces where people can form connections and find holistic support.

Each center hosts social, educational and cultural events and collaborates with student organizations and clubs to foster strong communities dedicated to social justice.

Oregon State houses seven cultural resource centers:

The CRCs are open during summer from 1-5 p.m. PT Monday through Thursday and provide spaces to study, hold meetings, prepare meals or relax with friends.

Amarah Khan, associate director of the Ettihad Cultural Center, says passion and empathy drive CRC staff to go above and beyond to make these spaces available to students and the community.

“For as long as there are students and community members – including faculty and alumni – living in a structure where they’re often overlooked and underrepresented, there is always going to be a need for them to find a safe space of belonging where as soon as they enter, they are met with support, encouragement and a place of healing,” she says.

Amarah encourages anyone involved with the CRCs to carry a sense of sincere curiosity, respect and willingness to learn.

“The cultural centers are an extension of people’s lived experiences, life histories, souls, celebrations and community gatherings, sometimes going back thousands of years,” she says.

“The cultural centers are an extension of people’s lived experiences, life histories, souls, celebrations and community gatherings, sometimes going back thousands of years.”

The CRCs strive to offer support both on and off campus, serving the larger Corvallis community and exploring innovative ways to better serve OSU students earning degrees online through Oregon State Ecampus. Many are incorporating technology, such as video conferences and livestreams, to better support distance students.

One example of success is recent graduate Orman Morton III, whose connection with the Kaku-Ixt Mana Ina Haws was a fundamental source of support and encouragement during his time as an Ecampus student.

In an effort to cultivate communities with diverse experiences and perspectives, the CRCs have also presented opportunities for global connections this summer.

“Through a cultural exchange program we have at OSU and other universities across the world, there was a group of 14 indigenous Taiwanese students that came into each of the cultural resource centers,” says Christine Hoang, a leadership liaison at the Pride Center.

The group of students toured each center, performed songs from their tribes and engaged in a dialogue about indigenous identity.

“We were building upon our commonalities – what we had that was similar – rather than what was different about us,” says Christine.

Oregon State’s cultural resource centers carry a meaningful legacy, and there’s no better time than now to become a part of the community.

Find out how you can get involved.

Julie Cooper is a marketing communications intern for OSU Ecampus through the PROMISE Internship Program.

Representatives from Oregon State's cultural resource centers and Diversity & Cultural Engagement during a team training at the Oregon coast.

Pictured above are representatives from Oregon State’s cultural resource centers and Diversity & Cultural Engagement. Photo courtesy Hussain Al Balushi.

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