SFA launches RAISE identity research center

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Published: May. 5, 2022 at 5:14 PM CDT|Updated: May. 6, 2022 at 12:11 AM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A new research center is coming to SFA.

While it may only look like a small room at the moment, it’s set to have a big impact. Dr. Pietro Sasso lead the creation of the Center for Research Advancing Identities and Student Experiences, also known as RAISE, and says that the center will advance the understanding of how the younger generations of Gen Z and Gen A grow to identify themselves.

“The country is becoming more diverse and so therefore our students are becoming more complex in ways that I think we don’t understand yet,” said Sasso.

Sasso says the period of 18 to 23 is an important point of development that sometimes even has a delayed effect of forming an individual later on. Sasso is also a research fellow at Penn State focusing on fraternity and sorority research and reform. He says 20% of students nationally join a fraternity, sorority or similar group. His work at SFA with the new center will have a natural collaboration with Penn State as his program does some research on the effects of hazing and alcohol use.

“Fraternities and sororities are not just the parties we see,” said Sasso. “It’s a much larger concept, and so we are going to try and look at that more and look at hazing and alcohol use as well as how do students think about how that overall experience shapes who they are.”

There is no current public or private higher education institution in the state of Texas with a center similar to RAISE. Sasso values the unique position that the location brings to his research with geographic identity, and wants to specifically see the results of a rural, East Texas population.

“We know a lot about what is it like to be a student from a city,” said Sasso. “We don’t know as much about what is it like to be a rural student from East Texas.”

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