County residents help with new UW center's grand openingOct 5, 2017 From staff reports
American Indian students attending the University of Wyoming now have their own cultural center on campus to share with the community.
The new Native American Education Research and Cultural Center officially opened Friday with a special ribbon cutting ceremony.
Shoshone Business Council Chairman Clint Wagon and Northern Arapaho Business Council Co-chair Lee Spoonhunter joined center director James Trosper and UW president Laurie Nichols in welcoming a long list of speakers and guests for the event.
The list included State Sen. Affie Ellis, R-Cheyenne, a UW graduate and steering committee member for the center; John Washakie from the Eastern Shoshone Tribe; Burnett Whiteplume from the Northern Arapaho Tribe; Vanessa Sorrels, a Doctor of Pharmacy candidate and UW Keepers of the Fire president; U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.; Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead; UW Board of Trustees president John MacPherson; and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.
The center will assist in boosting graduation rates among native students, including those from the Wind River Indian Reservation, by helping them adjust to the academic environment while maintaining their cultural values, Trosper said.
The center will provide space for one-on-one academic support, peer mentorship, financial aid and personal and cultural guidance. Strategies promoting American Indian student recruitment and retention will be implemented there, and connections to resources for tutoring, child care and more will be available.
The center will host cultural events and activities and offer students strategies or balancing academic and cultural-spiritual commitments.
It includes a computer lab, classroom space for the American Indian Studies program, room to stud, and areas where native student organizations can meet.
The center is located in the facility that formerly housed UW's Honors Program on the corner of 10th and Ivinson streets.