Diversity center opens

Diana Lance at work in diversity center Diana Lance working in the new diversity center. (Jama Abdirahman photo)

The University of Washington Bothell diversity center is an example of how students create change, said one of the students who helped make the center a reality.

Dominick Juarez, below right, said underrepresented students were already discussing the need for a supportive space when he transferred to UW Bothell in 2013 from Everett Community College. That movement to create a space that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion on campus grew. And it culminated in the opening of the center May 1 in Founders Hall.

Dominick Juarez“If there’s something on this campus that doesn’t’ exist, that’s an opportunity for you to make that change,” Juarez told new students last year in his role as president of the Associated Students of the University of Washington Bothell.

The center also was a priority in the UW Bothell Diversity Action Plan and had the support of Chancellor Wolf Yeigh to address the challenges of marginalized students.

“One thing I truly hold valuable to our campus is that, because we're so young, we’re able to develop and change things and create things for students who come after us,” said Juarez, implementation committee co-chair along with Rosemary Simmons, counseling center director.

Feruza Ghias, Samantha Penjaraenwatana“The campus is what you make it,” Juarez said, citing the sports fields, Activities and Recreation Center and now the diversity center.

Center employees held open houses May 2 and 3. It's located in the northwest corner of the first floor of UW1, just across the hall from the Student Success Center and includes the IDEA Project room.

The University is in the process of hiring a director to provide vision and leadership, develop programs and resources, and collaborate with campus partners. Candidates are being interviewed this spring. A name also is being considered for the center, and a more formal opening is planned in the next school year.

Photo: Feruza Ghias and Samantha Penjaraenwatana welcome visitors to the diversity center open house. (Jama Abdirahman photo)

Currently, student employees have been hired to set up the center and start activities such as scheduling rooms for club meetings or just a place to hang out.

“Having the center open is a big accomplishment,” said Juarez who plans to graduate next year in mechanical engineering.