A private college in Minnesota kicked off the academic year by unveiling a new million-dollar space designed for foreign students, people of color and the “LGBTQ+” community.
The new project of the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion at St. Olaf College was created with the help of a $1,000,000 donation. The new center occupies a substantial portion of the school’s main building, Buntrock Commons.
“The Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion works in fostering a welcoming community for international and multicultural and LGBTQ+ students in St. Olaf College,” Norma Charlton, a program coordinator in the Taylor Center, explained in a video about the new location.
Maria Pabon, the Taylor Center’s recently appointed director, suggest that the new location could serve as space for “marginalized social identities.”
“Our goal is to create spaces, physical and environmental, that support, respect, honor, and celebrate the multiplicity of our students’ identities,” Pabon said in a campus news release.
That press release states that the new expanse of rooms “is designed to be flexible and adaptable to accommodate lectures, exhibitions, and dialogues, as well as a series of quiet areas for students to study, work, and find balance.”
“One of the most exciting benefits of having a bigger space is the ability to introduce center programming around diversity, equity, and inclusion issues that allows for authentic and critical dialogue and conversations,” she added.
The substantial donation that enabled the creation of the new Taylor Center complex was provided by St. Olaf Regent Glenn Taylor and his wife Myretta Taylor. According to Glenn Taylor, the couple hopes “that the services provided by this gift support the full welcome, inclusion, and success of all students.”
“St. Olaf College is making great strides toward becoming more equitable and inclusive. We’re at the beginning of a new stage — this is just to get it started,” Taylor said.
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