By C. Brandon Chapman, College of Education
PULLMAN, Wash. – Native American students and programs have a new home at Washington State University, and they want to share it with the surrounding community. A grand opening will be 9 a.m.-4 p.m. today, Nov. 12, on the ground floor of Cleveland Hall, with a dedication at 4:45 p.m. and a reception to follow.
The renovated space for WSU Native American Programs and the Clearinghouse on Native American Teaching and Learning “provides a better sense of connectivity,” said Francene Watson, clearinghouse director. “It will better facilitate how we reach out to our surrounding communities.”
In addition, the redo “sends the message that our students are important,” said Barbara Aston, director of the WSU Plateau Center for Native American Programs. “The refurbishing was essential in order to demonstrate respect for Native American students and programs.”
Funded by the Plateau Center, the renovated area includes student space, a computer lab, meeting rooms and classroom space. It hosts a variety of activities, including First Friday Feeds – lunches on the first Friday of every month.
The space allows for better face-to-face interaction, Watson said: “The day-to-day conversations and foundational social aspect enable us to better stay connected. This is far more fulfilling and effective than, for example, email.”
“The rooms have a welcoming feel and provide a cozy place to study between classes or relax and visit with friends,” said Faith Price, assistant director of the Plateau Center. “The space helps foster a welcoming environment at WSU for our Native American students, and I hope they feel at home here.”