DeKALB – The Center for Black Studies received the Cultural Center of the Year 2021 and Innovative Website awards by the Association of Black Cultural Centers in October to recognize all of the hard work everyone has put into the Center for Black Studies.
The center was built in 1971 due to many protests when the campus was first integrated with Black and white students.
“We’re absolutely a place to support Black students, but all students and really student learning in a lot of ways, right, because our goal is to help educate the NIU community about the African diaspora, right, while also being this space of support for students, ”Edwards said.
Since becoming the acting director four years ago and then the director of the center two years ago, Edwards said she has much more of a strategic and transformational visionary mindset, but she has worked with others to keep CBS growing.
“The encouragement that I gave to my staff and the empowerment to say, ‘what would you like to see different? How can we do things differently? How can we re-envision, how can we see this in a different light re-present this to campus? ‘ and I think that as a team, we have made good solid strides, ”Edwards said.
Edwards said CBS has added and strengthened their Black Studies minor, added a certificate programstrengthened their retention programs and the list goes on.
Edwards said the Cultural Center of the Year was awarded on behalf of all of their hard work.
“It was certainly recognition of the work because sometimes working in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, It can be a job that goes without recognition, ”Edwards said. “You know because a lot of the recognition is seeing the outcomes of the students, so to be recognized by our peers, other people, other folks that are doing this work was very special to me.”
Edwards attended the Association of Black Cultural Centers conference virtually while sitting in the center with no one else around. She was absolutely shocked that they won the award and texted one of their group chats telling them the news.
We recognize that we do this work to really make impacts on our campus, which then impacts our community, which then impacts our society, and that’s the true reward of it all. “
– Anne Edwards
“The award is amazing,” Edwards said. “We are excited, over the moon to get it. And also, we recognize that we do this work to really make impacts on our campus, which then impacts our community, which then impacts our society, and that’s the true reward of it all. The recognition is to say that you’re going in the right direction. ”
CBS also received the Innovative Website Award by the Association of Black Cultural Centers.
“This award recognizes a Center who has curated a significant level of innovation with their website design and interface, “said Dione Reynolds, Upperman African American Cultural Center mentor by email. “The website should have elements that are not commonly found on other centers’ websites. The website should be intuitive to navigate and aesthetically appealing. ”
Edwards has a goal to continue toward excellence.
“I really think that our goal is to be an excellent cultural center; that’s my goal, ”Edwards said. “My goal is to be excellent and excellence is not perfection. I believe that if we operate in excellence, that we support and educate, develop if we do all of the things that we have been doing, and we continue to reimagine revision, and keep it moving, that we won’t have to align ourselves to win anything. We will just be already there. “