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Office of Belonging and Inclusion Opens New Location

Peter Licopantis
Office of Belonging and Inclusion reopened its doors under a new name and in a new locale – Corr Hall.

On March 18, Corr Hall reopened its doors as Villanova’s newly titled Office of Belonging and Inclusion, or OBI. Its relocation to the first floor of Corr Hall encompasses “the SUITE” (Space for Underrepresented Identities Together for Empowerment), aiming to enrich the experience of students with underrepresented identities on campus. A new location was not the only change made. OBI, formerly known as the Office of Intercultural Affairs (OIA), also underwent a name change. 

This adjustment came in response to a necessity to expand the program’s reach and bolster its ability to support the Villanova community.

Miranda Febus, the Assistant Director at OBI, takes on an important role in supporting diversity, equity and inclusion on Villanova’s campus. She actively supports campus events and learning opportunities affiliated with OBI, while also pioneering the planning committees for various history and heritage months. Additionally, she oversees two student leadership groups: the Ambassador Program and the Peer Mentorship Program.

Febus discussed the reason behind the name change to the Office of Belonging and Inclusion.

This change has been in the works for a long time,” Febus said. “The University and Division of Student Life have always been invested in the student experience and providing support for our underrepresented students. We changed our name to the Office of Belonging and Inclusion to recognize that we’ve expanded our scope of the student populations we support and advise. The name change also allows people to better understand what we have always been doing – providing opportunities for students to find a sense of belonging and to help Villanova continue becoming a community that is inclusive.” 

OBI’s ideal location, found in Corr Hall, includes the SUITE. The SUITE is an important on-campus resource for students with underrepresented identities. 

“The SUITE is the result of a commitment made to students in 2020 regarding creating a space for students with underrepresented identities to feel at home and have a place where they could hang out or study,” Febus said. “[It] is also a location where many of our cultural and identity-based student organizations will be able to have organization meetings and host events.”

The new space features a student lounge, conference/meeting spaces, a kitchen and additional amenities. It is a significant addition to OBI that can help advance its mission of supporting minority communities in Villanova. 

Amaya Dowling, an OBI program ambassador from the Class of 2025, leverages her role to collaborate with campus organizations and departments, aiming to enrich programming and boost student engagement.

“[OBI] allows me to be a part of a team that brings together everyone on campus to foster a community of respect and inclusion for Villanovans,” Dowling said.

Dowling and her fellow OBI ambassadors contribute significantly to the school through their work with OBI. The contribution made by these students reflects the motivations that led them to become involved in the first place.

“There are times people can go through imposter syndrome and feel out of place,” Dowling said. “But having this program allows underrepresented students to have a place where they can be surrounded by people who look like them or face the same problems [as them].”

Febus also emphasized the significance of the program within a campus environment like Villanova’s, echoing sentiments similar to Dowling’s.

“OBI does significant work of providing opportunities for all students to learn about their own identities and important topics such as power and privilege, social justice, allyship, bystander intervention and more,” Febus said. “We also provide opportunities for underrepresented students to learn, lead and find community.”

At the Office of Belonging and Inclusion, students can find supportive staff that celebrate the unique contributions of diverse students at Villanova while creating a space for inclusive engagement. 

Students from all backgrounds and identities are encouraged to get involved with the program. 

“[Those] who are passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion or social justice should pop by OBI to learn more about ways they can get involved and help us advance our mission,” Febus said. “Students who are curious to learn more should consider signing up for one of our workshops or training sessions, which can be accessed through our webpage.” 

The Office of Belonging and Inclusion is hosting the SUITE Kickback on April 24 at 6 p.m. in Corr Hall and invites all students to attend. 

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Nicole Liddicoat
Nicole Liddicoat, Co-News Editor
One of three Villanovan Co-News Editors, Nicole Liddicoat is currently serving her first year. Nicole is a sophomore double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Studies, while additionally completing an Economics minor. She is an ambitious student whose passion lies in environmental policy and social justice. Nicole has grown a love for journalism through her time writing with The Villanovan and hopes to continue fostering her dedication to accurate and compelling news. Nicole loves all things music, nature, and gluten-free foods. As a native of the Golden State, she will not let you forget it.
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