The Suite: A welcoming center for students

Published by , Author: Hannah Shumsky - Assistant News Editor, Date: March 21, 2019
The Suite is located on the second floor of the Smith Student Center. The lobby is a large seating and meeting area for students to socialize for students who want to engage with others on campus or simply relax.

The Suite, SRU’s collection of student leadership and inclusive excellence organizations, is located in one place in the prime of campus.

The Suite is on the second floor of the Smith Student Center (SSC) and is home to several student groups under the Office for Student Engagement and Leadership and the Office for Inclusive Excellence.

Amber Hamilton, assistant director for student transition programs, calls The Suite a “student-centered center” designed to promote student success and engagement.

“The real focus is making sure students feel welcome and students get the most out of their college journey,” Hamilton said.

The Suite features lounge seating and workspaces for students to meet, hang out or collaborate on a program for a student organization.

The offices for Student Government Association (SGA) and the University Program Board (UPB) are located to the immediate left when entering The Suite. Senators and organization members meet in the offices for work during office hours.

Students from each organization are also available to discuss concerns with students or start a conversation about on-campus happenings.

“If they have concerns, they can talk to SGA, or if they’re part of UPB, they can have conversations with them,” Hamilton said.

Fraternity and Sorority Life is also located in The Suite. This space has a lounge area and computers for graduate assistants and the presidents of Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council.

The Office for Inclusive Excellence provides support and meeting spaces for groups on campus. The Veterans Center supports any military-connected student, whether they are a veteran or active duty, are a member of ROTC or have family members in the military.

The Veterans Center has a lounge space, computers, printers and TV. The space has CAC-Smart card readers to give students access in the evenings and on the weekends.

According to James Berger, senior business management major and veteran affairs student liaison, students can access military files through the computers, and students come to the space to hang out and do work.

The Pride Center encourages empowerment toward people who identify within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community.

According to Hamilton, the Pride Center provides education for allies who may not necessarily have a place to feel comfortable on campus.

“It’s an opportunity for students who identify as the LGBT community to come together to have some type of camaraderie, but it’s also for those who don’t identify in the community, such as being an ally,” Hamilton said. “They can go in and learn more about the center, so there are resources posted in the center as well as a grad assistant who’s housed in there if anyone has any questions or wants to learn more about the thing they’re doing and the programs they’re running.”

Next door is the Women’s Center, which provides a center for students of any gender expression to discuss social issues.

“It’s not exclusive for women,” Hamilton said. “There are men who go back there and they are welcome.”

The Center is also one of three on-campus confidential reporting sites for survivors of sexual violence.

There is also a Multicultural Lounge and Multicultural Students Organizations Lounge neighboring Fraternity and Sorority Life. These lounges serve as meeting places for groups such as Black Action Society (BAS), Student Union for Multicultural Affairs (SUMA), KINGS, and QUEENS.

“It’s a space for them to have fun or just meet if they have to,” Hamilton said.

As a whole, the Office of Inclusive Excellence cosponsors and creates its own diversity events and programs for students to attend. Hamilton said that information on these events are available on social media and through advertising across campus.

“It’s more of just following us on social media and seeing when our events are or just stopping by,” Hamilton said. “Most of the time, you’ll see us preparing for our events or promoting our events by word of mouth or flyers.”

Whether a student is looking to learn more about a student organization, socialize with members of an organization or share their concerns with student leaders, The Suite houses spaces to meet all of students’ leadership and engagement needs.

“It’s really exciting to see students taking charge of their own college journey and being empower as a leader or a student within the space,” Hamilton said

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Hannah is a senior secondary English education major and communication minor entering her third year on The Rocket staff and her second year as editor-in-chief. Previously, she served as assistant news editor and covered Student Government Association affairs. After graduation, she hopes to teach English, communications and journalism to high school students. Hannah has won numerous awards for her writing and design work with The Rocket and was named SRU's Student Leader of the Year in 2020. Outside of The Rocket, Hannah is also part of WSRU-TV, Sigma Tau Delta and the Honors College.


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