Nov 17, 2019
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The Cross Cultural and Gender Center located in Room 110 in the Thomas Building, Aug. 1, 2015, plans to remodel the room and have it done by spring of 2016.

New center will ‘help students find a sense of belonging’

The Women’s Resource Center has transitioned into the Cross Cultural and Gender Center by expanding the services it offers to reach more students.

The center is directed by Dr. Francine L. Oputa and run under the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

The center will focus on three components: gender programs and services, cross cultural programs and services and LGBT programs and services.

“The first tier is the cross cultural programing and services, which has specific entities that it focuses on,” said coordinator of gender programs and services, Jessica Adams. “We’ll have a generalist who builds programing for cultures outside of what has been specified.” Cultures like Latinos, Asians, African Americans and others have their own direct program.  

Ofelia Gamez, the coordinator of the Latino component for The Cross Cultural Gender Center and College Assistance Migrant Program director, said she thinks the center is important because it will help students find a sense of belonging by creating a safe space for students who don’t necessarily have a support program on campus.

“I think it’s critical,” Gamez said. “Students want to find a space where they have a sense of belonging. I think for a lot of students who are not necessarily a part of a support program, this will be their safe space where they will not be judged or fit into a certain criteria.

“I think just having students have more support is going to be a win-win for all of us. Not only for the students, but with the university as well.”

Gamez said students will have a place to go and be able to ask questions where they might not necessarily know where to go because of lack of knowing someone there or because they’re hesitant.

“So if our center becomes that go-to place to ask questions, then great because that’s part of our job as the different centers, to be a resource to help students and navigate their way through college or campus,” Gamez said.  

“The second tier to the center is the gender programs and services,” Adams said. “We address the needs of students and educate them on gender issues. Gender being a full range of genders, not just men and women but everything outside and in between as well.”

Adams said the center will soon be having an event titled Gender 101. This is a workshop where students will be able to learn about the gender binary, which is a dichotomy between male and female, and gender identities that fall outside the gender binary.

“And then we have our third tier, which is our LGBTQ+ programs and services, which is similar to gender, but it focuses more on sexuality,” Adams said. “So it will focus on educating the campus on sexual identities.”

Joury Roubles, Student coordinator for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender programs and services, said she wants students to be aware that LGBTQ+ services are available on campus.

“I think these services are important because we have United Student Pride and LGBT allies, but students don’t always have time to attend clubs or different organizations,” Robles said. “Students might feel like they can’t get involved or they can’t find support. So I think these services we offer are a great opportunity for them to get involved and learn what it’s like to be an ally or if they’re an LGBT member.”

Flyers of upcoming events from the Cross Cultural and Gender Center will be posted around campus. The center is located in Thomas Administration Building room 110.

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