By Jack McLaughlin
Arts & Feature Editor
The Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) provides a welcoming area on campus that offers students a place with valuable resources.
Students and faculty gathered at the CIE for a welcome reception in O’Connor Hall Sept. 12.
The reception began with a game of bingo for attendees to mingle and get to know each other. The game allowed participants to ask each other questions about themselves to fill the bingo card.
After three winners were selected, Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence Jerome Burke spoke about the importance of finding things that unite people when there is so much in our society that causes division.
Burke asked the attendees, “What are the things that unite us? What are the threads that weave us together in a beautiful fabric?”
He then went on to describe that the overall purpose of the CIE is to “provide a secure and welcoming space for marginalized groups in our campus community.”
Burke said the CIE is committed to hosting events involving art, music, and educational tools to provide an understanding for different cultures and create a welcoming environment.
Burke said he sees “not only students who are searching for a sense of belonging, but also staff and faculty members who all are committed to ensuring that all of our students find what they’re looking for.”
Another game began centering around the questions of knowing what the acronyms DEI, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA stand for.
After this game, Burke invited Program Coordinator Emma Laurie to speak to the attendees more about the CIE and events that are upcoming.
Laurie explained the CIE was created as part of the University’s commitment to anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion.
She also explained how the CIE offers workshops and training that work toward building a “more equitable and just society.”
Laurie added the CIE helps to advise affinity groups on campus such as the Black Student Union, Pride Alliance, and ASL Club.
The CIE will also offer a series of different events for Hispanic Heritage Month, which includes 12-foot dolls being placed around campus from different countries for students to learn more about their countries of origin, Laurie said.
After Laurie spoke, Burke introduced FSUPD Chief Joseph Cecchi to speak to the attendees.
Cecchi explained FSUPD has a goal to build relationships on campus, and he hopes to do that by being an active member at student events.
“We’re here to support you. We’re here to be here for you. I just want to make this a safe campus,” Cecchi said.
Burke recounted the start of his role as CIE director. He explained how at the beginning of his time at FSU, his office space needed to be shared with the staff of CASA whose office was undergoing renovations over the summer.
He said he used this chance for “the opportunity to ask questions to learn those things that you are concerned about. Don’t just be by yourself.”
This story led to Burke introducing LaDonna Bridges, director of CASA, to speak about their experience with the CIE during this summer.
CASA staff needed to share the office space with the CIE staff from May to June, and during that time a strong relationship grew as a result of the temporary arrangement.
“We had the best time being officemates with Jerome and Emma,” Bridges happily told attendees.
Bridges talked about how their strong relationship with the CIE allowed them to discuss ideas about engaging with first-generation college students.
“We think it was the start of a beautiful collaboration that we really hope to have with the CIE,” Bridges said.
The event concluded with a final game, with attendees passing a ball around with questions about diversity and inclusion which allowed for those reading the questions to share their thoughts on these ideas.
“Welcome to the Center for Inclusive Excellence … where all are seen, supported and valued,” Burke said.