SIUE’s Multicultural Center opened on Nov. 20 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Venessa Brown, the assistant provost for institutional diversity and inclusion, said the center is a place for everyone to meet and discuss cultural issues and issues of diversity.
“SIUE’s goals are always to be inclusive and diverse; the Multicultural Center is a place for everyone. We hope to really live out our values and mission for the institution here,” Brown said.
Chancellor Julie Furst-Bowe called the ribbon-cutting a “day of celebration.” She said the center will serve as a place for achieving domestic and international peace, social justice and elements of human potential.
“We’re celebrating one of the key components of our university’s diversity plan and the opening of a center that speaks to our values of citizenship and inclusion,” Furst-Bowe said. “Through a collective contribution and a diverse and inclusive student body, faculty and staff, SIUE nurtures an open, respectful and welcoming campus atmosphere that facilitates both learning and hard work. We are enthusiastic about the opening of this multicultural center — the first in the university’s history.”
Furst-Bowe said the Multicultural Center, which was previously a computer lab, will serve as a place for everyone to celebrate cultural differences.
“This is an opportunity for everyone to collaborate, learn from each other and celebrate our diverse community. It means that we finally have a place where students, faculty and staff members can come together in a safe place and talk about diversity issues. Eventually we hope to provide a lot more resources for diversity and inclusion,” Furst-Bowe said.
Senior marketing management major Logan Cameron, of Edwardsville, said he anticipates using the Multicultural Center.
“I think the Multicultural Center creates an equal and diverse background so inclusion is all around the campus,” Cameron said. “Diversity is already coming ahead, and this is a way of helping it out.”
Freshman communications major, Tania Manharez of Chicago, said she will be using the Multicultural Center as an event coordinator for the Hispanic Student Union.
“We plan on holding some of our meetings at the Multicultural Center,” Manharez said.
“I’m hoping that the ribbon cutting will be another step toward having more diversity and inclusion at SIUE. The fact that we have the center now means that we are moving towards that goal. I’m hoping that it will become home to more organizations, so that they, too can represent themselves at the office”.
Furst-Bowe said the university will make changes to the Multicultural Center in the future based on how the center is used order to better accommodate the needs of students and staff.
“We’ll probably start by seeing who’s using the center — when it’s busy, what types of resources people are looking for — and then as we take a look, we hope to expand someday when space becomes available and people become more interested in using the center,” Furst-Bowe said.
The center is open to all students, faculty and staff and is located in room 2060 on the second floor of the Morris University Center.