SPOKANE, Wash. -- Washington State University's Health Sciences campus in Downtown Spokane is making a big push for diversity and inclusion.
The school recently opened up its new diversity center in hopes of molding more well-rounded health care professionals. It is a place where under-represented students can come to feel at home and to learn about other people's culture and backgrounds. It offers workshops, activities and training for both students and staff members.
Right now, they are getting ready to march in the Martin Luther King Jr. parade on Monday. Two years ago, the brand-new facility in the Student Affairs building was just an idea. A student led the charge and requested funding for a central gathering place and a full-time Diversity Coordinator. The money ended up coming from student activity fees.
"It speaks to what like once students have something that they really want to do on campus that they can get anything done by either going to our student government or by going to the administration," Diversity Coordinator Dion Crommarty said.
Crommarty said they spent a year in a small room on campus as the vision for the Diversity Center came to life. The space is shared with Student Leadership and Involvement and Community Engagement and Service Learning. The entire project cost between $400,000 and $500,000. It is an investment Crommarty said is well worth it for these future health care professionals.
"As a doctor, as a nurse, a pharmacist you're going to have work with different people," he said. "The college landscape is changing, America is changing so it's getting out students and staff and everyone out there to be marketable but also working with different communities.”
It is why Crommarty said they will continue to find ways to fund their work.