The Native Space Housing Initiative: “Find Your Space, Find Your Family”

Talley Student Union view from elevator

Students walk on campus by the Talley Student Union. Photo by Marc Hall

Multicultural Student Affairs and University Housing are proud to present Native Space, a new housing initiative marketed toward Native American first-year students. Native Space was designed out of an observed need to provide a more communal experience for incoming Native students through a supportive and culturally engaged campus environment.

Students in the Native Space will live together in Wood Residence Hall with a live-in upperclass mentor in two suites. As a part of this housing experience, students will develop strong relationships with their peers as well as Native and multicultural staff and faculty. They will receive academic skills training as well as professional development workshops and will attend conferences with other Native American college students. They will also complete two service learning projects, one with a local tribe and one on campus at our annual Pow Wow. Students entering college with a strong support network who are affirmed and enriched culturally will reap the benefits academically, as the honoring of culture is key to holistic success. The emphasis on academics will be strongly felt through weekly study halls to help prepare students for the rigor of university-level coursework.

Another key aspect of Native Space is the level of family engagement that will exist throughout the year. Many Native students in college, both at NC State and across the nation, travel home nearly every weekend to see their families. Though remaining close with family is certainly vitally important, such constant travel can also cause some level of academic strain and detachment from the campus community. As such, families will be invited to Raleigh at various points throughout both semesters to both keep students at NC State and to enmesh the students’ home community with their college one.

The name “Native Space” was coined by Michael Sanderson, a member of the Lumbee Tribe and a junior at NC State; this will be the name of the community for its pilot year with the intention that the inaugural cohort, through ownership of their own space, will create their own name for the initiative.

The Native Space Housing Initiative has received considerable support from not only Multicultural Student Affairs and the staff of University Housing but from campus partners across an array of disciplines and colleges. All the more thrilling are the communications we have received from parents and accepted students expressing excitement and comfort that they have the opportunity to be a part of this experience. We look forward to providing you with updates on the success of the program in the upcoming school year!

For more information, please visit the Native Space website.

Brittany Hunt is assistant director of Native American Student Affairs, Multicultural Student Affairs.