By Luke Lew
Georgia State University attracts a very diverse student body, and it's no surprise that programs, groups, and initiatives to serve student, faculty and staff groups. The Cultures, Communities & Inclusion (CCI) initiative aims to help student programs become more interconnected through a collaborative structure of support across Georgia State’s campuses.
Dr. Jaray E. Mazique, Assistant Dean of Students, said the CCI team provides collaborative work on how we celebrate and educate while focusing on inclusion and intersectionality.
“The CCI concept was derived from Dr. Michael Sanseviro, vice president for student engagement, and since I had experience working with intercultural relations and gender equity as an assistant dean, he shifted my focus to helping build the CCI structure,” Dr. Mazique said.
The CCI team is comprised of four offices that are committed to educating, celebrating, and recognizing the history, culture, experience and contributions of diverse cultures, communities, and identities among Georgia State's students.
These areas include:
- Office of Black Student Achievement
- Latinx Student Services and Outreach (LASSO)
- the Multicultural Center
- the International Student Association Council (ISAC).
Together, they aim to provide a variety programs, initiatives, and workshops that educate, fosters community-building, enriches the overall campus experience for the campus community, and prepare students for the world that awaits them post-graduation.
“CCI does a great job of not just celebrating, but also educating, which is a critical piece in order to help enhance student awareness and inclusivity,” Dr. Mazique said.
The CCI team is very strategic in planning for events, workshops, and educational materials for specific audiences. As found in academia, individuals come to the table with different levels of understanding of different topics.
“You will increase the level of a dialogue and education with students by meeting people where they are, not being judgmental, but really trying to figure out a way to accept participants for who they are yet aim to help them leave much more enlightened and aware where they feel the desire to continue to celebrate diversity,” Dr. Mazique said.
The CCI team has opened a space on the second floor of the Student Center East which is called The Intersection. This space has a lounge area, television displays promoting events and activities, and support for audiovisual needs for presentations. This space allows students to relax and be themselves as well as participate in intercultural dialogue or seek and give support.
“We are using this space to really allow students to engage and exchange information, interact and learn from others, and just hang out,” she said.
The CCI team is also hosting a Culture Café in The Intersection from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday Oct. 11, and Monday, Nov. 15, and the space is also open to students during regular business hours outside of these events.
“How do we then intentionally design our work to make sure everyone feels celebrated here at Georgia state? We are committed to recognizing the rich history, culture, experience, and contributions of the diverse cultures and identities here at Georgia State,” Dr. Mazique said.
If you are interested in helping the CCI team celebrate the diverse cultural heritages of the university's student body, email [email protected].