A home away from home  

The GOBCC provides a welcoming space for students.

Jas Simmons poses for graduation photos beside Mizzou columns.

Written by Morgan Jackson 

Jas Simmons was first introduced to the Gaines/Oldham Black Cultural Center (GOBCC) through the  Center for Academic Success & Excellence (CASE) a summer bridge program that provides students with career exploration information, social engagement and wellness tools to assist them with their transition from high school to college.   

During a tour, she discovered the GOBCC and was excited because she knew she would be supported there.   

For Simmons, the GOBCC is a home away from home, and the energy within the center is unmatched. It is a space where she believes you can truly be your most authentic self, without judgment.   

Simmons received her degree in communication from the College of Arts and Science. Now that her journey has ended at Mizzou, she hopes that her presence has helped make the space inclusive — the GOBCC is a space for everyone.   

Read on for a Q&A with Simmons about her experience at the GOBCC.  

How has the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (IDE) helped you in your time at Mizzou, and why is the GOBCC a valuable resource?   

There are people within IDE who have supported me through my whole time at Mizzou. Mrs. Velma Buckner (Assistant Director, Undergraduate Programs & Outreach Initiatives), Ms. LaToya Stevens (Director of Communications for the Division of Inclusion, Diversity and Equity), Khesha Duncan (Assistant Director of Inclusive Engagement & Constituent Relations) and Ms. Erika Aaron (Assistant Vice Chancellor for Inclusive Engagement). Even though Ms. Erika is new to IDE, she has hit the ground running when it comes to advocating for students and getting things done. Those gems within IDE have been a light.   

The GOBCC gives Black students a space to be their authentic self. Our programs highlight Black culture; therefore, students are really getting and learning about the Black experience at Mizzou. 

How has being a part of the GOBCC allowed you to grow, and how has it impacted you?   

Being a part of the staff has made me consider everyone as my family because we are so close. You get to know them on a different level because I work with them and have classes with them. It is more than them being just another Black student. Really making those long-lasting connections has been the highlight of being a part of the GOBCC.    

What impact do you’ve hope to have had on the GOBCC? 

I hope to have made it a very inclusive space. When I say inclusive, I mean – it’s for everyone. You don’t have to be Black to be in this center, everyone is welcome. I hope that my presence since I’ve been here has been nothing but welcoming. 

What advice do you have for someone who wants to come to the GOBCC, use the services or get involved?   

Get connected to our Instagram. We have put a lot of effort into our social presence. Also, just come by the center and hang out. Many of the people I have met throughout my time here have been because they randomly came by the center, whether they were studying or attending an event we were having or hosting. If you want to work here, just ask  Ms. AnDrea Jackson (Senior Student Support Specialist)how to get involved and volunteer.   

GOBCC Hours of Operation  

Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. | Friday: 9 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.  

Feel free to email gobcc@missouri.edu or call 573-882-2664 for questions.