This year Martha Draayer, director of intercultural development, and Kelsey Joseph, associate director of intercultural development, have been working together to change the name and the culture surrounding the intercultural department at Northwestern. Draayer’s hope for the rebranding is to “re-cast a vision to all of campus that we are more than just for a small, select group of people on campus that identify as a cultural or racial minority.” Vanessa Gomez, a Bridge Center intern and NW senior, said that they are “trying to overcome the exclusive stigma that has surrounded the intercultural suite.” Gomez expressed that it will take all of us for these efforts to be successful.
The goal of the Bridge Center is to bridge divisions that can separate people from one another and from God. “We all have beautiful differences that make up one body of Christ. We need each other to see more of God reflected in the ways we experience Him” Draayer said. A bridge is intended to symbolize how we can come together with our differences. “We are the bridge linking together. It’s not ‘I have to go to your side,’ or ‘you have to go to mine.’ It is an exchange of differences in an effort to reach understanding” said Gomez.
Along with the new name, a new logo was revealed as well. “The visual icon is the act of holding hands with one another, embracing and reconciling with one another while reflecting that God is at the center of it all, holding us together” said Draayer. With this change, the Bridge Center hopes to be a safe space where any student feels welcome to come as they are. Draayer hopes for it to “unite campus by supporting one another in our differences through seeing the beauty God created within us.”
Former and current students are excited and hopeful about the changes. Alumni Jon Johnson, class of 2021, expressed his feelings on the change during a recent visit back to campus. Johnson said that he loves to see “the way administration and faculty push for change.” He also expressed that he is glad to see the addition of new intern roles that are more specific. Jadyn Williams, a senior, is also happy about the new roles and hopes that the new positions at the Bridge Center are “filled by people who are open minded and willing to push the department to a new level, not only on campus, but in the community as well.” Johnson and Williams have both been involved in La Mosaic and have interned under the Intercultural Department.
There are many ways to get involved with the Bridge Center. Clubs like La Mosaic and I-Club host events throughout the year, offering an opportunity to meet new people and make friends. There are a few programs offered as well. The Bridge Center staff encourage students to stop by the Intercultural Suite in Ramaker (now called the Bridge Center) for more information or to just hang out. Make sure to follow the Bridge Center on Instagram at nwc_bridgecenter to stay updated on all upcoming events!