Being a part of a university really showed me the importance of having your own “space.” I mean I always knew that it was nice to feel like you were part of a group of friends or whatever but I didn’t realize the impact and the importance of this. By space I mean a place that you feel safe, valued, heard, welcomed, accepted and so on. Its only in college that I really understood the profound difference it makes in peoples lives to feel included in something or to feel a sense of belonging, even if its only in one small group of people who share your interests.
It creates an even bigger difference in someones life when you’re part of a marginalized group. For example a space for LGBTQIA, immigrant students, black students, women, latinx students, people with disabilities, etc. can really shift a students college experience from horrible to awesome. Places like the women’s center that creates an inclusive vibe and caters to specific needs of the student body for students that wouldn’t otherwise get attention is SO IMPORTANT. Today in class when Dr. Kate talked about the meeting Dr. Harbrowksi was having with faculty about LGBTQIA issues on campus, I asked myself what would students do if nobody was fighting for their voices on the faculty and staff level. It really makes a difference when you know that your personal struggles are shared with others going through similar things.
UMBC needs more spaces like the women’s center that promote inclusive conversations and tackles social issues that affect the student body and the entire campus.