Get to know our space

Get to Know Our Space

Get to know our space

The bell hooks center is a feminist hub for scholarship, activism and radical inclusion. Across campus, Bereans are now thinking and living gender beyond a binary. To meet their needs, the College opened its Women’s and Gender Non-Conforming Center in 2019, giving birth to what is now the bell hooks center. In addition to the variety of programming sponsored and housed in it, the bell hooks center offers marginalized students, especially LGBTQPIA+, femme and students of color, a space to be as they are, outside of the social scripts that otherwise circumscribe their living.

bell hooks center
I celebrate teaching

The bell hooks center’s newly renovated space in Draper 106 is accessible and size-inclusive. It is furnished comfortably (and beautifully) with couches, study spaces, reading nooks, and floor furniture. We offer wool blankets and encourage students to indulge in a necessary practice of survival: rest. The center is decorated with Turkish and Afghan rugs, as well as original commissioned art. We offer a wide range of resources like pronoun pins, contraceptive products, menstrual products, a community closet, and the names and contact information of local queer-friendly healthcare professionals. Additionally, the bell hooks center houses a feminist library with books students can take home to keep, some they can check out, and resource materials that they can read in-house, including signed copies of bell hooks’ books. The center’s walls feature a multimedia display of the past, present, and inclusive future of Berea College’s commitment to gender equity; the evolution of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department and curricular alignment with the bell hooks center; and bell hooks’ life, love, and legacy—in Berea, in Appalachia, and in the world.

In my freshman year, I was placed in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies introductory class, which took place in what is now the bell hooks center. The atmosphere of the center immediately made me feel safe, like I was in the right place to learn and grow. The positive energy here is unlike anything that I have ever experienced. I was thrilled when there was an opening for students to work at the center, and I applied right away. My favorite part of working as a student programmer is helping plan for and work at events where other students can come and enjoy this same positive energy. As bell hooks says, ‘it’s all about love.
Mandy Snowden