Directory
A-Z Index
Northwest students Dwan’yel Iverson and Rashawn Brown read a newspaper in the newly remodeled Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which now includes study spaces, conference areas for organizational meetings and collaboration, and lounge areas. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Northwest students Dwan’yel Iverson and Rashawn Brown read a newspaper in the newly remodeled Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which now includes study spaces, conference areas for organizational meetings and collaboration, and lounge areas. (Photos by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Aug. 27, 2021

Northwest celebrates remodel of Office of Diversity and Inclusion


Students at Northwest Missouri State University have a new place to study, gather, connect and even get their hair cut or styled with the opening of a remodeled Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the J.W. Jones Student Union.

The University community gathered Thursday to celebrate the opening of the new space located within the Student Engagement Center on the Student Union’s second floor. It includes not just staff offices but study spaces, conference areas for organizational meetings and collaboration, and lounge areas.

The barbershop has its own room, outfitted with a barber chair, mirror and portable sink. Any Northwest student, employee or community member may sign up for an appointment to have their hair cut or styled by visiting the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Appointments for hair styling are available on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, and haircuts are available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday; haircuts are $15 and prices vary for styling.

The remodel was completed during the summer after the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, in collaboration with University leaders, gathered input from students to create an inviting space where cultural exchange and learning can occur.

“We wanted to make sure we started the process of creating a welcoming and stronger environment for not only our underrepresented students but also providing education and learning opportunities,” Dr. Justin Mallett, the University’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, said. “Through our guideposts of listen, align and act, we started the process of building this space.”

Mallett said the goal for the space was to provide a “home away from home” for underrepresented students at Northwest. By providing another place where students feel comfortable exchanging ideas and lived experiences, the University also hopes it will positively impact retention, persistence and completion rates among its underrepresented population.

“But this space is not just for underrepresented students, it’s for everybody,” Mallett said. “No matter what your identity is, we want to be able to provide learning opportunities for our students and for our employees.”

Dr. Justin Mallett, the University’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, is flanked by Northwest student-athletes Elijah Green and Braden Wright as he addresses a crowd gathered Thursday to celebrate the opening of the remodeled Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Dr. Justin Mallett, the University’s assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, is flanked by Northwest student-athletes Elijah Green and Braden Wright as he addresses a crowd gathered Thursday to celebrate the opening of the remodeled Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Bearcat football players Elijah Green and Braden Wright were among the students who attended Thursday’s celebration and praised the remodeled area as a welcoming place to socialize and build connections.

“It’s just a great space where we can all get in, connect and just really engage with so many other people that we don’t have time to engage with during a normal week,” Green, a senior chemistry major from Maryville, said.

Added Wright, a senior business management major from Elkhorn, Nebraska, “I’m just excited to get back and be able to use this space … Just the outreach that we’ll be able to have for the whole student body is going to be amazing.”

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski greets students and staff Thursday as he tours the remodeled Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski greets students and staff Thursday as he tours the remodeled Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

During his remarks at the opening celebration, Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said the space provides an important path to helping students develop a sense of belonging while building bridges among people of varied identities and closing equity gaps.

“There’s a lot of good ideas that roll around out there and you have to align them,” Jasinski said. “That’s what makes Northwest stand out among many is that we act – not haphazardly – but we listen, we align, and then we go ahead and act. Whether it be a ribbon-cutting for an Agricultural Learning Center, this celebration today, or our next celebration, it’s all about acting for the right reasons.”

For more information about programming and resources offered through Northwest’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, call 660.562.1226, email diversity@nwmissouri.edu or visit www.nwmissouri.edu/diversity/.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704