New Common Ground room open to students

Students+and+faculty+meet+in+Common+Ground+for+its+grand+opening+on+Sept.+24.+

Alayna Ross

Students and faculty meet in Common Ground for its grand opening on Sept. 24.

Alayna Ross

The Common Ground room, located on the second floor of the Hawkins Conard Student Center, is now open to students and events tailored to address topics regarding diversity.

For years, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion never had a permanent space dedicated to accommodating students and faculty members. Common Ground is the first full-time space to serve this purpose.

Terri Link is the first full-time director of Diversity and Inclusion at Ashland University and pushed hard for a space like Common Ground. Prior to receiving the position here at AU, Link worked for the historically black university, Langston University in Langston, Okla.

Link believes that her years of experience will help her to support all students, but specifically the under-represented and marginalized students here at Ashland University.

One of the key elements to the future of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion was to create a space where students can meet, hang-out and have meaningful conversations.

“Common Ground; the word itself means to meet in the middle and so as we start to navigate a space dealing with ethnicity, diverse students, disabilities, sexual orientations, race, religion and things like that. It is important for us to find common ground to have those difficult conversations that will make us uncomfortable, but will ultimately bridge the gap,” Link said.

The space that is now occupied by Common Ground was once shared with another organization on campus. The room has been renovated and is open for students to relax, do homework and watch television. However, Common Ground’s main purpose is to host any type of program made for diversity and inclusion.

Sam Breyley, a freshman at AU, finds Common Ground to be a space in which to meet with friends and foster new relationships with other marginalized students in a positive and welcoming environment.

“Personally, I think that it is a nice feature for students like myself, who identify as a diverse student to meet other diverse students,” Breyley said.

Ariana Graves, diversity intern and senior at AU, believes that Common Ground will give students a chance to come together and understand each other.

“I hope that this space can bring together a community of people that are interested in diversity and inclusion, making all students welcome here at the university,” Graves said. “I want it to be a space where we can have fun, but we want it to be a space where we can have open discussions about what makes us different, but also what makes us similar to one another.”

All students are welcome and invited to spend time in the space. For more information about Common Ground, contact Terri Link within the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at 419-207-5504 or [email protected]