The Simpson Intercultural Center located on the Whatcom Community College campus, aims to build connections, and create a sense of community for the diverse student population.
The Intercultural Center believes connections are important, and that students learn better when they study together. Building these connections is integral to the learning atmosphere at Whatcom.
Maritza Mendoza, a Whatcom student working at the Intercultural Center said, “forming connections makes students feel more comfortable to present their thoughts and more willing to learn.”
The community building at the Intercultural Center is used as a tool to work towards social justice on campus. The Intercultural Center supports multiple identity based groups on campus such as the Muslim Student Association, Latinx Leadership club, Black Student Association, and Native Indigenous Student Association. The center has the only designated prayer space for students on campus.
“The representation of POC, and the amount of leadership in the identity clubs on campus and of people who come through here is really important,” said Anthony Blackwell, a student at Whatcom who works at the Intercultural Center. Supporting identity based clubs on campus, hosting student networking events and providing access to other campus resources at Whatcom are some of the many things the Intercultural Center is responsible for.
Stone Soup is a lunch group held at the Intercultural Center on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. Students and faculty are invited to come together and get to know one another outside the classroom.
Stone Soup “is the only place where students and faculty can be in a brave space together and students can voice their ideas and experiences and vice versa,” said Blackwell, adding “even if we do not agree with each other we learn something.”
When discussing Stone Soup, Blackwell said they tend to stay away from the word safe space and instead use “brave space.”
The Intercultural Center is in the process of rebranding Stone Soup. The lunch group will consist of the same concept with new ideas and a new name.
“We are going to get away from the title Stone Soup,” says Blackwell. The goal is to make Stone Soup more action focused.
The Intercultural Center hopes to expand participation, and create more flow between the center and students by holding student outreach events and information booths on campus.