UGA now has a spot that can be reserved on campus where any student, faculty or staff member can go and engage in dialogue about issues of social justice.
The Intersection, a new room located on the third floor of the Tate Student Center across from Tate Print and Copy, opened in the fall for all university members. It provides a safe and dynamic learning environment where individuals can talk about issues of equity, access, social justice or any other challenging issue.
In fall 2013, several students and faculty organizations were the target of hate via Facebook. They were being attacked for various values and other issues. Victor Wilson, vice president for student affairs, realized there was no safe environment on campus where victims of this hate, or others concerned, could talk together about what they were feeling at the time.
“The situation caused some very hurt feelings on campus,” he said. “It hit me at that time that there was a lot of dialogue we needed to have, but there was really nowhere to do that.”
As a result, Wilson teamed with the Multicultural Services and Programs, a part of UGA’s Student Affairs Division, and challenged them to find a place on campus where people can advance the work of diversity and inclusion at UGA.
“I wanted to find a place on this campus where we could talk about tough issues. Period,” Wilson said. “They don’t have to be about race, gender or anything in particular. But just any tough issues.”
The Intersection gives individuals a place where they are free to talk about anything challenging them—particularly subjects that tend to get swept under the rug.
Previously, the room was home to “The Dawg Pen,” which was a sports lounge area that had several television screens and a variety of seating options.
“In repurposing the space, the goal was to create a central and intentional space that would advance the conversation on social justice and inclusion,” said Megan Pendleton, an assistant director of Multicultural Services and Programs.
Pendleton was a part of the implementation team responsible for creating the mission, vision and values of the Intersection.
The space also has a selection of books related to social justice, equity, access and experiences to assist Intersection visitors with their discussions.
It encourages people from all walks of life to come together in discussion, and the spot honors all identities, perspectives and worldviews of the campus community.
“The Intersection is a free space on campus,” Pendleton said.
Any department, organization, office or person can reserve the space. To learn more about the Intersection or book the room, visit msp.uga.edu.