By Lauren Upchurch

Bellarmine’s Office of Identity and Inclusion completed renovations that will expand its ability to host events and cultivate community among students.

According to its website, the OII aims to give students opportunities to explore their identities, advocate for social justice, and practice cultural humility.

Emily Dixon, assistant director of the OII said: “The Office of Identity and Inclusion is a place for underrepresented and underserved populations at Bellarmine. It’s a place for people to learn more and get a better understanding of their identities and how those intersections work.”

Dixon said the renovations will give the OII more room to have in-house programming, the ability to house more students and will allow people a greater opportunity to see the multiple facets of diversity on campus.

Junior James Harwell said he the renovations will create a better environment for students. “It will help us get the events out there and allow us to put on more fun events on campus,” Harwell said.

OII work-study student Vickie Hillary said, “I think the renovations brings a sense of support from the university. It gives us more space and more community.”

She also said she hopes the renovations will bring in more students that have not previously stopped by the OII.

“I feel like the renovations are really welcoming and makes it feel more open for more people to come in,” junior Jameelah Lockhart said. She said she believes the extra space will lead to more events and more foot traffic in the OII.

Hannah Stewart, who is a work-study student in the OII, said she thinks the new renovations will greatly add to Bellarmine’s campus. “The amount of space that we now have will allow us to bring more to the campus culture,” she said.

“The OII is a place for students to feel included, it is a place for students of diverse backgrounds to come together in a comfortable way,” Stewart said.

“We want people to understand that this place is for everyone. As long as the building is open, we’re open,” Dixon said.

The grand opening of the newly renovated OII will be on Jan. 31 at noon after Home Food Friday.

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