Earlier this year, Claremont McKenna College unveiled its new Civility, Access, Resources, and Expression (C.A.R.E.) Center.
“The C.A.R.E. center is a space that seeks to proactively engage and educate the community and build communication across difference,” Timothy Song CM ‘19, a Fellow at the Center, wrote in an email to TSL.
The Center is a space designed to allow CMC students to gain a better understanding of different identities and perspectives and to provide a bridge to 5C resources such as the Queer Resource Center, Office of Black Student Affairs, and the Chaplains, among others, said Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion Vince Greer. Academic Advising and other CMC only resources also have space in the Center.
“Essentially what we wanted to do was make this a space where, for our entire student body, we have resources that are accessible … and to gain a much better understanding of various members of our community and perspectives,” Greer said.
Song wrote that in addition to employing two full-time psychologists, “The goals of the Center are to create dialogues on difficult issues and provide resources such as support, academic advising, and psychological counseling.”
To help students and faculty engage in discussions about different identities, the Center offers various workshops and events, which are usually well-attended, said Greer.
For example, on Nov. 9, the day after the presidential election, the C.A.R.E. center hosted a lunch discussion about the results and how to have dialogues with people who have different ideological beliefs and values, wrote Song. Over forty students attended.
Greer said that the Center is open to the entire CMC community, and its staff have been intentional about sending out advertisements of events and seminars to students, as well as faculty and staff. Faculty have had a consistent presence at the Center.
The idea for the Center had been forming for a while, but the Black Lives Matter protests last year sped up the process, according to Greer.
Greer was hired to the newly created position of Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion to help facilitate collective discussions across the campus about issues of gender, sexuality, race, class, and other identities.
Student Fellows work at the center, leading and creating programming and advertising the various events. Song wrote that his “focus is Title IX and sexual assault so I am working on policy consolidation between the 7Cs and creating a Title IX educational seminar at the center.”
The Center is intended not only to create a space to talk about issues of identity and differences, but also to allow students to reflect on inclusivity on campus and in their home communities. It works to advocate for students from underrepresented backgrounds, and to help students from majority populations learn about being an ally, understand other perspectives, and take part in tough dialogues, said Greer.
“We would like to increase its effects by educating individuals on how to have productive dialogues and hoping the go out into the community and engage others in other dialogues,” Song wrote.
Greer said that in the future he hopes to make the Center a space that feels like a second home and “where we can engage in dialogues in a civil manner that’s understanding.”