Student Submission: The Multicultural Center is a place to call home

Senior Elaine Combs found her second home, the Multicultural Center at Georgia State University, a place where she could be herself and gain knowledge from other perspectives. Combs finds herself intrigued to come to the center every day as the number of open conversations become increasingly therapeutic.

In 2016, the film and media student came to the Multicultural Center for the first time when former staff member Laci Adams introduced her to the workplace. Combs first believed she would rarely visit the center. However, as Combs interacted with different people, she gained a new perspective of what the center offered in forming genuine friendships and knowledge of many cultures.

“The vibe here is just excellent. The people are very welcoming, open and accepting,” said Combs. “I just found myself coming here more and more, and two years later, the center became my second home.”

“Pop Talks” is one of Combs’ favorite events at the Multicultural Center because of the open conversations and pop culture dialogue. Every Wednesday at noon, the Multicultural Center offers free pop-tarts and invites students to participate in various topics such as mental health or culture representation in media. Combs believes “Pop Talks” helped her grow stronger as a person in becoming more aware and insightful of herself.

“As a person who struggles with mental health challenges, it was very insightful to hear different people…share their experiences.”

She then expressed her gratitude, adding, “It was very open, and it was almost kind of therapeutic in a way. Not only did I get to release some things that were withheld internally, but I also got to bond with other people who I never thought attended the university.”

Because Combs found a second home where she can be herself within the university, she discovers comfort in people due to their inclusivity and open-minded discussions. After engaging with a wide range of open conversations, Combs finds the ultimate goal of the Multicultural Center is to educate and promote diversity and inclusion. Combs believes that the center prepared her for life post-college because of the knowledge she has gained in matters like using proper pronouns to address people.

“When people say they identify a certain way or want to be spoken to in a certain way, it makes me more aware of how I interact with people,” Combs said. “Because I have already been doing it on a smaller scale, I can maneuver those spaces when I go out into the world.”

Workshops hosted by the Multicultural Center help build a sense of character. A workshop Combs believed further empowered her identity as a woman was attending a Woman’s HER- Story Month event.

“I am a woman. I have that intersectional identity,” Combs said. “Hearing different women’s perspectives on what they have been through in life and hearing other young women in the audience just builds power within you.”

Combs wants students to understand that the Multicultural Center offers genuine friendships and relationships by attending the workshops. Because the Multicultural Center is available for students and faculty Monday through Friday, Combs continuously attends the center whenever time allows her in order to gain new friends that will see her in a “respectful and positive light.”