Building Bridges Program

What is the purpose?

The Office of Minority Student Services is committed to improving relations between students by helping them to grow personally, and preparing them for living and working in diverse communities. The purpose of the Building Bridges Program is to facilitate communication and collaboration between university students of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.  It is a collaborative initiative between academic affairs and students affairs that integrates students' in-class and out-of-class experiences.

How does the Program Work?

Each semester a team of diverse student associates visits classrooms to share their personal experiences related to race and ethical issues, and lead discussions about inter-group relations with their peers. Topics may include interracial dating, minority scholarships segregation, affirmative action, Black History Month, the effects theBuilding Bridges media has on racism, diversity on campus, and or sexual orientation. The result is a lively discussion that produces a different perspective for many students. By all accounts, the inter-group dialog has met with measurable success since it began twenty years ago.

Who are the Associates?

Student associates come from all backgrounds. They are selected through an interview process and receive ongoing training in effective listening, non-defensive communication of feelings, creating an open and supportive atmosphere, and handling difficult group members. Students participate in the program because they see a need to improve race relations and want to be part of the solution. Associates come together before every session to gather knowledge and ideas for the open discussion they prepare to have throughout the next scheduled session.

How To Get Involved


  • Become a student associate.
  • Ask your professors to invite a team of associates into your classes.
  • Attend open discussion sessions scheduled outside of classes.


  • Invite a team of associates into your classes.
  • Poll your students/members for questions before the visit.
  • Encourage your students/members to continue dialog outside of the session.

What Have Participants Said About the Program?

"This really opened my eyes to how the world is. We don't say anything, but we want to see change. How will change happen without taking the first step?"

"The session helped spark my own thinking of how to incorporate diversity in my own teaching."

"The sessions made me think about how I am going to incorporate a broader cultural education in my future classroom."

"Building Bridges is a very effective program. I felt that this group gave me a better understanding of others' cultures and the need to learn."

"This is such a good program. I think it makes us think about what we know about other cultures and how ethnocentric we actually can be toward other groups!"

Building Bridges Schedule-Spring 2018

April 19, Thursday
Dr. Yenerall
American Government
114 Founders
12:30-1:45 p.m.

April 19, Thursday
Dr. Yenerall
American Government
114 Founders
2:00-3:15 p.m.

May 1, Tuesday
Dr. Walsh
Sociology of Conflict Resolution
204 Founders
2:00-3:15 p.m.

Group Trainings in Gemmell Multicultural Center: 1 hour

February 15, 2018 @ 5:30 p.m.

March 22, 2018 @ 5:30 p.m.

April 26, 2018 @ 5:30 p.m.

Building Bridges 2017-2018 Facilitator Contacts

Rogers J Laugand III
Etor Ndinyah
Brendon Henshawe
Raiven Payne
Sonny McKoy-Jones
Dallas Floyd
Ta'Hira Boone-Branch
Lauren Sturnick
Zhane Steele
Jalonda Goodwin
Alexis White
Emili Goris
Justin Torres
Virgil McClendon
Adlai Louis
Kaison Branch
Elisabeth Santana
James Smathers

For More information:

Rogers J. Laugand III, Director
Office of Minority Student Services
412 Becht Hall
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Mailing address: 840 Wood Street, Clarion, PA 16214-1232
Phone: +1 814 393 1908



Last Updated 4/10/18