VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Center for Diversity & Community opened its doors on Wednesday to students, faculty, and staff for an open house event filled with laughter and food.
Santina Lokonobei, a senior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry, was just one of the many students who stopped by the center to grab a donut and reconnect with friends and mentors in the upstairs Muenster University Center offices. Lokonobei said she’s been coming to the CDC for about a year now ever since she transferred to USD.
“It’s kind of been my go-to-place to come kind of touch base and find where all my friends are at,” she said.
Lokonobei said the CDC is a place where students can feel safe to be themselves and somewhere that students can use as an educational resource to help them in their studies.
“I definitely use the CDC as a tool to help me in my academic career and also personally to kind of reach out and meet friends — to kind of make myself a more well-rounded individual,” she said.
Adetokunbo Oredein, the director of the CDC, said the common example of inclusive excellence that he uses when describing the center’s goals for diversity is everybody being invited to a party but also being invited to plan the party.
“No matter who you are, where you come from — whether you’re from the Midwest, South, overseas — you have a place here and you have a voice. We want you to feel comfortable at USD and if you’re not (we want you to) let us know so we can help,” Oredein said.
The first large event of the semester planned by the CDC for students is the Eid al-Adha celebration which will take place on September 5th from 6-8 p.m.