At Adelphi, students find lifelong friends along with academic success. A big part of that are affinity spaces—places around campus where students with similar interests (international students, veterans and students of color) can not only feel comfortable but nurture themselves in their culture and individuality and interact with the Adelphi community.
Students of varied backgrounds have made many connections through these spaces—which is why there are plans to form more.
“Affinity spaces provide a place of familiarity where true engagement with the larger community can begin,” said Estefania Zea, project coordinator, Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
When you go into Room 111A in Alumnae Hall, you’ll find Homeplace, an affinity space for students of color.
“Students of all backgrounds utilize the space to study,” said Fabian Burrell, M.S. ’17, coordinator for programming and community engagement. “As an affinity space on campus, it provides a safe haven for students of color.”
Stemming from the Center for African, Black and Caribbean Studies, Homeplace gives students a place to make new friends, get involved on campus and learn about resources and upcoming events. (Down the hall from Homeplace, the Levermore Global Scholars also have an affinity space.)
“I see Homeplace as a spot where I can relax,” said sophomore Simone Griffith. “I love how I can just get away from the stress and come here to take a minute to myself. I can be myself in this room.”
The Veteran Resource Center is the perfect place for veteran students to gather and learn more about local veteran service agencies and meet with Adelphi staff. It has also become an affinity space for student bonding. Veterans and active duty military students are provided resources such as mental health support, career development, information on upcoming events and veteran-specific sessions.
“The Veteran Resource Center gives our veteran students the opportunity to meet with other veterans on campus, as well as outside supportive agencies,” said Christina Wease ’08, academic adviser and coordinator of the Veteran Resource Center.
“When I was a student, I was there every day, multiple times a day,” Walace Vieira ’18 said. “It’s a nice place to get to know other veterans at school. We exchange information on how to deal with the VA (Veteran Affairs), scholarships available for veterans, and prior military experience.”
Located in the Hagedorn Hall of Enterprise, the Veteran Resource Center offers information about the Center for Career Development, Office of the University Registrar, Office of Student Financial Services and Swirbul Library. Twice a month, a veteran liaison from the Mental Health Association of Nassau County’s Veterans Health Alliance of Long Island visits to provide outreach and support.
A lounge on the second floor of Post Hall, near the Office of International Student Services, is utilized by international students from Nigeria, India, China and all over the globe. Khang Dang, a senior business major from Vietnam, is among those taking advantage of the international affinity space.
“Coming here has proven to be a worthwhile personal experience that I have come to cherish,” said Dang.
Developed in Fall 2016, this space is a formalized partnership with Shorelight Education as part of Adelphi International.
“This is a safe space for students to come and eat, study, socialize with friends, sleep, pray or meet with groups,” said Wendy Badala, director of International Student Services and Interfaith Center, PDSO/RO. “It is actually a rather wonderful spot and is highly used by the students.”
This affinity space isn’t the only place where students can pray. The Interfaith Center has been an affinity space for students of different religious backgrounds for years. Students can go to the chapel in the University Center to pray, read religious texts and even have choir practice.
“The Interfaith Center and specifically Newman Club helped me to feel like I had a place at Adelphi when I first began,” said sophomore Kristiana Wolfe. “It has helped me to continue to feel welcomed by the community and to increase my awareness of my place in this world.”
These affinity spaces are working and others are under discussion.
“There has not been a room designated as an affinity space for LGBTQ+ students, but we will be working on this,” Zea said.
In the meantime, however, Adelphi does provide Safe Zones for the LGBTQ+ community. Participating faculty, staff and offices, after undergoing training, post a “Safe Zone” sign as tangible evidence of their support.