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Intercultural Affairs Debuts New Space Dedicated to Cultivating Belonging

On Wednesday, February 16, 2022, Intercultural Affairs celebrated the opening of the new Intercultural Affairs (ICA) Lounge space with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new lounge will be a home for intercultural club meetings, events, and various ICA programming to continue to nurture belonging across the University.

The ribbon-cutting event, which featured music and refreshments reflecting cultures from around the world, began with a welcome from Connie Horton, vice president for student affairs. After Horton welcomed the group in attendance, Michael Hahn, assistant director of ICA, took a moment to say a blessing over the newly opened space.

Pepperdine president Jim Gash and vice president for community belonging Jaye Goosby Smith also gave remarks, focusing on the importance of spaces like this to create and sustain belonging on Pepperdine’s campus.

Seaver College junior and Pepperdine Ambassadors Council member Sahej Bhasin offered a student perspective, sharing his experience as a student of color at Pepperdine and as the vice president of Pepperdine’s Indian Student Association.

“To speak at the opening ceremony was an honor as I had the opportunity to reflect on how ICA has helped shape me into a strong individual that isn’t afraid to express my identity,” Bhasin says. “As a student of color, it is challenging to be in a different environment at Pepperdine, but this lounge symbolizes the beauty of unique identities. It will foster collaboration, growth of new ideas, and a stronger sense of purpose, service, and, most importantly, leadership.”

To close the event, Rebecca Campos, director of intercultural affairs, announced upcoming events that will occur in the new space, including club meetings and events and ICA programming, and invited attendees to tour the lounge.

To learn more about the Intercultural Affairs Office (ICA) and their programming, please visit the ICA website.