Center connects
Programs merge to benefit students.
by ASHLEY CRISP
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on August 28, 2009 | PRINT

This summer, the Division of Student Affairs created the Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Center for Student Life to provide a “one-stop shop” for students looking to create their own Clemson experience.

The Center for Student Life was created out of two previous departments — the Center for Student Involvement and the Gantt Intercultural Center (GIC).

According to Altheia Richardson, assistant vice president of student affairs and the executive director of the new center for student life, the goal was to create one place encompassing all aspects of involvement for students, whether it is awareness of other cultures, engaging in the community, or joining a student organization. Combining these two departments of Student Affairs allowed all students to find all aspects of the Clemson experience in one location.

The previous Center for Student Involvement included student organizations such as CLEMSONLiVE, Clemson University Undergraduate and Graduate Student Governments, Central Spirit, Civic Engagement and Fraternity and Sorority Life.

The GIC focused on students with an international or multicultural background. It provided support services for international students, cultural awareness programs and diversity education. Some programs and events hosted by GIC included the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration, International Awareness Week and the One World Project.

Some student organizations saw change over the summer due to the creation of the new center. Abby Daniel, undergraduate student body president, said that some officers within CUSG did see a change in advisor and members have been more strategically paired with staff members who can best help their particular positions. Approval procedures have also been simplified.

“Through a seamless approach to student organization advising, individual student support leadership/diversity/citizenship education programs, we believe that students will become more successful in achieving their goals while at Clemson and in the future,” said Dr. Gail DiSabatino, vice president of student affairs.

In addition to the new Center for Student Life, Campus Life expanded to include Tiger Paw Productions, Central Spirit and CLEMSONLiVE; previously, these three organizations were a part of the Center for Student Involvement. They are now housed together in Hendrix Student Center on the second floor.

This was done in order to allow these similar organizations to work more closely with each other. Joey Johnson, president of CLEMSONLiVE, said that the opportunity to interact with other similar organizations is one benefit of this change.

Laura Oglesby, executive director for Tiger Paw Productions, said the grouping of these three organizations creates a good combination. “Taking the unique components of the three and combining it all into one event makes for one awesome mixture. The possibilities are far greater than any one group can do alone.”

The University’s budget cuts for 2009-2010 also played a role in the development of the Center for Student Life. In order to maintain efficiency with spending, it was important to evaluate what staff positions were necessities and which could be used in another way, said Richardson. While some specific staff positions were eliminated, all employees remain employed in a field of that aligned with their skills.

Students interested in visiting the center or receiving more information can e-mail studentlife@clemson.edu, call (864) 656-7625 or visit the Harvey and Lucinda Gantt Center for Student Life on the sixth and seventh floors in the Union.

The center will soon have a Web site and plans to have an open house later this fall.

“I think that the combination of the Intercultural Center with the staff responsible for overall student involvement will bring added attention to ways students can participate in and further appreciate the diversity on our campus,” Daniel said.

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