UNC CULTURAL AND RESOURCE CENTERS
When Fleurette King, UNC’s Assistant Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, says that individual experiences are valuable to education, she really means it. “One-third of our students are first-generation,” she says, “half of them work, and a number of them go home every weekend to be with their families. Their perspectives – how they see the world – are important to all of us.”
King, whose department is under the university’s new Campus Community and Climate Division, oversees four cultural and three resource centers. Asian/Pacific American Student Services, the César Chávez Cultural Center, the Marcus Garvey Cultural Center, and the Native American Student Service Center comprise the former; the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, Veteran Services, and the Women’s Resource Center make up the latter. Together, they share four major focuses: education and training; advocacy (whether policy, institutional, or personal), leadership development, and community building. Their work contributes to UNC’s retention & matriculation efforts.
They share a desire to raise consciousness and awareness among the larger student population – through a number of cross-cultural events, activities, and initiatives that remove barriers to success and create opportunities for greater understanding.
It’s an affirming approach that King believes is helping the seven centers gel.
“Our slogan is ‘Seven Strong,’” she says, “because here at UNC we support all students, and want to acknowledge the unique experiences and perspectives of those who are underrepresented or marginalized.”
“Student success,” says Patricia Escobar, Director of the Chávez Center, “is at the heart of why any cultural center exists on a college campus.” And collaboration is a key ingredient when it comes to helping UNC students succeed academically, personally, and, after graduation, professionally.
Yvette Lucero-Nguyen, Director of the Women’s Resource Center, uses the term “intersectionality” – the natural connection between the programs and the people they serve.
“We’re all here to provide a pathway to resources,” agrees Dan Turnbeaugh, Director of Veteran Services, “because we don’t just exist within these individual groups.”
The common denominator? The empowerment that comes from access to educational opportunities. And a shared connection – for everyone – to the entire UNC community.