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The Center for Multicultural Services will soon receive a makeover through the construction and relocation to a permanent space in the Ludwick Center for Spirituality, Cultural Understanding and Community Engagement, opening in fall 2019.
The Center, currently located in the Athletic Pavilion, will be where Brandt Hall once stood and will create a more collaborative environment.
The Center offers a number of services, such as supporting cultural clubs on campus, providing diversity training and workshops for the campus community, and overseeing the cultural graduation celebrations.
There is so much more, but Daniel Loera, director of multicultural affairs, said that what the center does best is allow people to be themselves in the most meaningful way they can by providing a safe space.
“Don’t underestimate the value for people to be themselves,” Loera said. “I think that people have, in many ways, captured some of that nature and it’s important.”
The Center creates a variety of programming throughout the semester, each month, for students who wish to attend and actively engage in on-campus activities.
The Center is currently rounding up the last of its programs for Black History Month, and will continue plans to move forward in March with women’s HERstory month, Gaypril and Asian American and Pacific Islander month in May.
Loera said programming for the center is busy these days due to many more efforts and initiatives being made toward representation of all the diversity on campus.
“There’s a push for conversation for diversity and inclusivity,” Loera said. “With student voices being heard about what impacts them, there’s a next level consciousness that has been raised in a larger scale.”
“If I had to choose something I would want to see more, it would be programs with Asian heritage,” said Arman Agahi, junior history major.
“Or since I come from a Middle Eastern background, some events that represent the Middle Eastern culture would be nice.”
In recent semesters, students have become compelled to voice their concerns and raise awareness about what impacts them most.
“I think students have started to take action and bring about the change that they want rather than just sitting idle out of a place of, honestly, just feeling frustrated,” Agahi said.
Sophomore kinesiology major Ryan Mendoza who works at the center said he recognizes the importance of student involvement.
“I feel like students are speaking out because they see expectations are not being met at a consistent level,” Mendoza said.
“Students are … more knowledgeable of issues like these and understand what other people within their communities are feeling, or going through.”
Some new programming ideas includes cultural competency training for students and faculty and updating curriculum so it’s less Eurocentric.
“What they’re asking for makes sense in the world we have,” Loera said.
“I think that people need to come together around our multiple identities and I see that in what is being heard and in responses.
“These are real issues (without) an easy remedy, but can be worked on long term,” Loera said.
Jaycie Thierry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.