Armed with a passion for promoting a diverse and inclusive community, Laura Terry is able to fulfill her demanding roll as the Office of Multicultural Affairs director. After completing her undergraduate degree at ETSU in social work and a master’s in sociology, Terry pursued a career that would allow her to positively influence the student body that she was once a part of.
Since taking upon the role of director in 1994, Terry has been advising and serving a multitude of organizations on campus.
“I try to work with as many students as I can to help them to understand that while we are all different, we all have similarities as well,” said Terry.
Terry cites her own cultural background and experiences as a source for motivation to promote kindness and inclusiveness in her work on campus that goes far beyond just campus life.
“I’ve always felt that as an African American woman I can make a difference, and that’s part of the reason I moved into this,” Terry said. “I saw that I could make a difference not only in the African American community, but with various other cultures as well.”
Terry advises and serves the Black Affairs Association, Gospel Choir, South Asian Cultural Exchange, Chinese Student Scholars, Heroes, Saudi Arabian Students Association, Shades of Africa and more.
This semester will be filled with events organized by Terry and those within the organizations she assists. After a successful program in celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Terry shares her excitement for upcoming multicultural events that range from dialogue discussions, open mics, cultural fusion showcases, and speakers such as accomplished actor, Hill Harper.
“I truly do love my job, and every semester you find new students to communicate with and to reach out to,” Terry said. “It’s such small things that have the potential to mean so much to someone else.” With a genuine desire to serve others, Terry’s efforts do not go unnoticed by the students she serves.
Whether it be an authentic piece of cultural clothing, homemade jam, or a simple thank you, these tokens of appreciation she receives from her students just motivate her more to continue the work she has done.
While working on campus she has been able to see the continual growth and maturity of the atmosphere on campus that has progressively become more unified and more diverse.
“It’s getting better and better, day by day,” Terry said. “We aren’t just building new organizations on campus, but also a unity among the students and organizations that allows them to worth together.”
For students who are interested in the Office of Multicultural Affairs or in the upcoming events they can visit the organization’s ETSU webpage that details involvement opportunities and what each of this semester’s programs will be about.
Terry encourages students to become involved in the array of opportunities within the Multicultural Affairs Office, but she also reminds us to not neglect the small ways we can make a difference by showing more kindness to one another on a daily basis.
“It never hurts to be nice,” Terry says.