The Native American Education and Cultural Center provides students a place to learn and feel at home.
Felica Ahasteen-Bryant, director of the center, said, "The NAECC contributes to the University's goal of creating an inclusive environment and enhancing cultural awareness."
While the center continues to expand on campus, Ahasteen-Bryant hopes that the cultural center will help students have a better understanding of the Native Americans in general.
"I hope they will develop an accurate depiction of Native peoples. In my conversation with some students who have participated in previous NAECC sponsored programs, they leave with a better understanding of Native Americans and greater appreciation of Native cultures," said Ahasteen-Bryant. "As for Native students, I hope they follow in previous Native alumni's footsteps by sharing knowledge they acquired here at Purdue and contribute to their tribal communities."
The center hopes to educate students on all Native American cultures, not just North America mainland Native Americans. Ahasteen-Bryant said they do this by inviting Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian speakers to campus to discuss their research or share their traditional knowledge. The center brings a very open and friendly environment among its members as well as promoting diversity and cultural awareness around campus.
"My favorite things about the NAECC is the sense of having a ‘second home'," said Elizabeth Hansen, senior in the College of Agriculture. "The staff there is always friendly and helpful, and the Center is a great place to come in and just unwind. It's been good seeing familiar faces across campus and knowing that I have a support system that is always here when I need it."
Hansen believes that, over time, more students will become familiar with the Center.
"As our student population grows, the NAECC seems small at times, but we make it work," said Hansen.