NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - Northwestern State University began a new semester on Monday. As students work to complete their degree programs, school administrators are working to add diversity and inclusivity to their school's curriculum.
"We need to really foster this atmosphere of inclusivity," Brittany Blackwell, professor of psychology at NSU. One way the school has taken steps to foster that atmosphere is by creating the Center for Inclusion Diversity (CID).
CID is in the Student Union and was established around 3 years ago. The center helps provide resources, educational programming and opportunities for inclusion for students.
Blackwell works as the center's coordinator and helps facilitate programs led by students. Last February, the center brought civil rights leader Shaun King to provide an in-depth conversation about race in America.
Those talks encouraged several students at the university to speak out and led their own projects like Michael Raymond.
One projects he led on campus was advocating for students with disabilities. The psychology major spearheaded a project to remove the "r" word from people's vocabulary. He says the best benefit of CID is gaining exposure to other cultures.
"If you live in an environment like Natchitoches, if you've been here all your life, you won't be able to experience as much, Raymond says. "When you come on campus and move from high school to college. It's a totally different spectrum."
Another student leader benefiting from that spectrum is Macala Broussard, who says students working with programs like CID, gives the valuable knowledge and could be the key to understanding others better.
"If you understand someone, even if you have a hate for them or where they come from, it will end your hate for them," Broussard says.
CID is space for students feel empowered or included. Vice President of the Student Experience and Dean of Students, Frances Conine says the university works to make sure every student is included in all school program. Conine adds, "Diversity is not only vital to Northwestern but the entire Louisiana System."
"Diversity is important for all of us, in particular important for students," Conine says. "This is one of the places they learn about diversity."
Conine encourages any student experiencing any issues to contact her or members of NSU's faculty.