IU South Bend staff member Cynthia Murphy and student Reagan Ayala were recently named as 2023 Building Bridges award winners. This award honors Indiana University faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community partners across IUs campuses who capture Kings spirit, vision, and leadership.
Cynthia Murphy currently works in the Titan Success Center as an academic success coach, but has been serving IU South Bend’s students for nearly twenty years as a passionate advocate for marginalized students and community members.
“Martin Luther King Jr’s. vision of a beloved community has been such an inspiration to me personally. One of the ways that I have been honored to live out this vision for nearly twenty years is through the Leadership Academy at IUSB,” explains Cynthia.
“In the Academy, I was inspired by students, colleagues, and community members as we have learned together the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement, thoughtfully applied these lessons to the struggles that our communities still confront, and ultimately as we co-created our own beloved community together over the years. I will be forever grateful to mentors and allies who have guided me, the students (both past and present), and especially the alumni who now carry the torch forward in their work, families, and communities.”
IU South Bend junior Reagan Ayala is a communication major, who also serves as president of the Queer Straight Alliance. She has been dedicated to creating a more inclusive environment on campus for all.
“It feels amazing to be recognized as someone who can show off a fraction of Dr. King’s vision. It means a lot to know that the work I have done in my time on campus has impacted people’s lives,” says Reagan.
“While my projects have focused mostly on developing a more inclusive environment for the LGBTQIA+ population on campus, a community I am extremely proud to be a part of, inclusivity cannot exist for one group and not for another. I hope to continue this work going forward with the remainder of my time at IU South Bend and beyond.”
The IU South Bend Black Student Union was also awarded with a $500 MLK Student Organization Grant. This honor is given to student organizations for programs, event sponsorships, or efforts supporting inclusivity, respect for diversity, and community service. The funds will go toward implementing a historical Black Michigan tour this spring.