Elizabeth Montiel-Alvarado, Campus Carrier staff writer

The Intercultural Center (ICC) at Berry College is now reaching its second year open. The center opened in February of 2021 with the intention of creating a safe community space for students. Since then, it has hosted a variety of events based on this idea and with the goal of spreading information on a diverse range of topics.  

“We wanted it to be a place where if you had an event that promoted diversity or inclusion, this would be a great place to hold that and we would be happy to actively promote that within the space.” said Calli O’Neal, interim coordinator of academic transitions.

Aside from being a study or hang-out space for students, the ICC is also used to host many events, including cultural events (CE). While you earn a CE credit, the ICC also hopes students emerge with a broader worldview and gain something from the events. 

“If events are going to happen here, we want students to learn something and we want there to be follow-up conversations around that,” said O’Neal. 

Students are affected differently by the events depending on their individual situations. They are meant to include many cultures and involve students in an appreciation of different diverse backgrounds and experiences. Sebal Abdulla, a senior and ICC student director, views the events as a learning opportunity. 

“As an immigrant myself, I’m still learning, so these events are valuable to my development, career, and personal self and I know these things have the same effect towards everybody who comes into the ICC for these events,” Abdulla said. 

Allowing students to improve their understanding of different cultures is also important to create friendships and meaningful relationships. 

“I have met students who have said, ‘I’ve never met a Middle Eastern before,’ so for me, hosting this stuff gives people that diversity and cultural understanding of others and a way to be supportive,” Abdulla said. 

Some events may also be centered around national cultural celebrations. 

“This month is Black History Month, so our events are more attained to that because we want to celebrate Black History Month and show unity,” Abdulla said. 

In light of this, the ICC will be hosting an African American read-in this Friday, February 24. Berry students, professors and staff are encouraged to participate and read works by Black authors. Some may also read their own work, so the ICC wants it to be a safe space for them to share. Since this event depends on volunteers to spread cultural learning, it accurately captures the goal of the ICC. 

“The ICC is the perfect place to hold it. We are celebrating diversity, inclusion and literature, and we are helping people share their perspectives,” O’Neal said. 

Students are also encouraged to voice their opinions and make any recommendations to the ICC. 

“Anything that students come up with that can make the space better or that can make events hosted in the space better, we would love to hear about that,” O’Neal said. 

For help or recommendations, students can approach the ICC’s student staff during working hours, as well as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 

Posted by Campus Carrier

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