TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - It's one thing to start a new school year. It's another thing to start when you stand out from the crowd. Indiana State University is prepared to welcome and serve all students. That’s with its own Multicultural Services and Programs Center. It's a place for students from all walks of life to fuse.
Executive Director of the Center, Elonda Ervin, says, "To learn other people's stories, to enjoy interacting with those that you are not, you've never interacted with before. So we don't want you to go and leave I-State without experiencing other cultures, other religions, other demographics of all kinds."
While the center is empty now, it will soon be full of students swapping different beliefs and customs.
As Graduate Assistant Radasia Blaylock says it's a campus support system.
Blaylock explains, "Your freshman year, especially if you just came out, it's going to be pretty hard for you. So we have these resources here, we have these counseling services here to make sure you're supported."
Ervin says the students who meet in the centers are helping to tear down stereotypes and stigmas.
Ervin shares, "Their sexuality or their gender identity, or their orientation, you have to be fluid, and that's one thing that having an LGBTQ Student Resource Center has allowed me, and those that visit and those that come to our programs."
For those overseeing the center, they say it's very rewarding to see these students come out of their shells. They also say they're learning from the students as well.
Ervin reflects, “The young man said, ‘Well I’m asexual and I’m polyamorous,” and I said, ‘Huh?’ But he was able to explain all these different identities that he carries. I learn more from the students that come to this floor than they could ever learn from me."
Graduate Assistant Zac Moore spent his undergrad helping to build up the center and its programs.
He says it's rewarding to look back on the effort he's put in.
Moore says, "I came in I was 18 you know, I wanted to keep my head down and get a degree. That's what I thought college was. It means a lot to me to kind of see the fruition of all the work that I did as an undergrad kind of pay off for other students in the future."
The Resource Center plans to do more than 100 outreach programs this year. These events are all free and open to the public. To learn more about the center, click here. The center itself is located on the 7th floor of the Hulman Student Union.