The Office of Intercultural Affairs (ICA) recently funded a new collection of books on LGBT issues. Located on the second floor conference room, the books are available for use by the HWS campus community.
“The books were purchased by student affairs as the result of the LGBT task force recommendations brought to the President’s Commission on Inclusive Excellence this past fall as a way to continue the Colleges’ efforts to welcome and include gender minorities,” explains Chaplain Lesley Adams, who is a member of the Commission. “We decided to house them in the Intercultural Affairs house along with other resources for Inclusive Excellence, including books and magazines on race, class, religion and culture, where they are accessible to faculty, staff, and students.”
This recent acquisition is only one in a long list of resources that ICA provides to students, staff and faculty. The ICA also provides a variety of reference books, including dictionaries, old textbooks and signed books from speakers who have come to campus. Additionally, the office subscribes to several magazines that are not offered at the library, including The Advocate, Colorlines, Hyphen, Islamic Horizons, Native Peoples and YES!.
“As a small office on campus, we can see to a broader spectrum of student needs, whether that means helping to find them transportation or providing resources like study materials for the MCATs or ESL training,” explains ICA Director Alejandra Molina. “Additionally, I think students gravitate towards this space because we don’t bother them and the building has a lot of different spaces that each serve their own purpose, whether that means studying, eating, having a discussion or simply taking a nap.”
Open until midnight, ICA provides a hang out space for students looking to get away from academic spaces. Offering refreshments and study space, no other office on campus has a pool table, selection of games, big screen televisions and a dedicated computer room.
“I enjoy spending time at the Intercultural Affairs Center because it is a multipurpose space that allows me to study, learn about different social/cultural clubs, spend time with friends and make new ones,” says Shanita McLeod ’13.
Subin Nepal ’15 agrees, noting, “The ICA was the first place that I, as an international student, visited on campus, so it’s really like a home to me.”
In addition to providing hangout space, the house also serves as a meeting place for many cultural clubs, including Asian Student Union, Caribbean Student Association, French and Francophone Club, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship Club, Latin American Organization, NARAL, Model United Nations, Pride Alliance and Sankofa. Additionally, it is home to weekly study of Buddhist meditation.
In addition to serving as a meeting space for classes and clubs, the space hosts a variety of events, including film series, workshops and speakers. Among their monthly offerings, Fireside Chats with Faculty are particularly valuable because students can chat with faculty about their current research and learn how academic projects are carried out. Additionally, through the Skype Networking with Alums events, students can get insight into life after graduation as they speak with alums about their experiences and receive candid advice on how to succeed in their chosen field.
Located at 288 Pulteney Street, ICA is home to the office of the Higher Education Opportunity Program, where students enrolled in the program receive academic, personal, financial and career counseling. The Office of Intercultural Affairs’ hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to midnight and on weekends from 11 a.m. until midnight.
Check out past events, pictures and commentary at the ICA blog: http://hwsinterculturalaffairscenter.wordpress.com/; or, for news and upcoming events, head over to the office’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Intercultural-Affairs-House/28457171588.