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Usually, if a Northwest student wanted to get their hair braided, they’d have to drive an hour and a half on a 98 mile trip to Kansas City, where the nearest hair braiding services are. But now, Northwest students can get one right in the Student Engagement Center on the second floor of the J.W. Jones Student Union.

Last semester, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion opened a community barbershop to students and residents of Maryville on select Sundays in the Office of Student Involvement in the J.W. Jones Student Union. Now, the barbershop is getting its own hair braider. Noura Salmon, a braider from Kansas City, will be on campus the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Salmon will also be on campus for appointments on Dec. 8 and 9, as well as May 5 and 6 in preparation for graduation.

Although this is a new service, Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Justin Mallett said that adding hair braiding was part of the plan all along. 

“We just had to work and find a person who is capable of providing the services students needed for braiding,” Mallett said. “I will also add that we are not done; it will be our hope in the future to have a person who can not only braid, but provide other additional services associated with hair styling.”

Doyle Irvin Jr., a barber from St. Joseph, Missouri, with over 20 years of experience, is returning this semester to provide haircuts and beard trimmings, same as last semester. Appointments must be scheduled in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion beforehand. When scheduling a hair braiding, you can decide between cornrows, kinky twists, locks, butterfly locks and box braids among others.

“This is something our office has always wanted to provide since I have started here,” Mallett said. “We did it in a one-off concept in the past, so now to be able to provide a consistent service where our students don’t have to travel to KC or St. Louis for their hair is something that has been embraced and appreciated not only by our students, but our community as well.”

When signing up, students will have to pay half the costs upfront with CashApp and the rest on the day of the appointment, with a discount for all Northwest students.

Hair services might be available for the football team before games, Irvin said, but a definite decision hasn’t been made. 

Overall, Mallett said he’s grateful to have this service the entire community can share.

“So far it has been great,” Mallett said. “We get community members, majority students as well as underrepresented students using the space, so I am thankful for the University’s investment in a space to provide this great service to everyone.”

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