Multicultural Center opens for student use

Center staff to continue developing programming

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The center is located in the lower-level of Newcomb Hall. 

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

The University opened the doors to the Multicultural Center Oct. 17.

The center — located in the lower-level of Newcomb Hall — is designed to be a collaborative space for underrepresented and marginalized groups to use on Grounds. Students are able to utilize the space during its open hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for studying or small group meetings.

Director of Multicultural Student Services Vicki Gist said, however, that Monday was a “soft opening” — though the furniture has been moved in and the space is physically available to students, much of the programming for the center is yet to be finished.

The center will spend the next few weeks extending invitations to student organizations and working closely with them to determine how the space will be utilized specifically for different events, Gist said in an email statement.

Catalina Pinto, student director for the center and a fourth-year College student, said the center is going to have a formal ribbon cutting ceremony with stakeholders and guests during family weekend in November, but will continue designing its programs throughout the year.

“There is a lot we need to figure out,” Pinto said. “How we are going to get students out there, how the space will be used in different ways and how we will keep up with students’ needs.”

Gist said the center will have its reservation system for events up and running in November. Student CIOs will be able to reserve space in the center for bigger, sponsored gatherings in the evenings.

Given that the space was designed with diversity and inclusion in mind, events will be assessed by the staff of the center with multiculturalism in mind, Pinto said.

Ten interns have already been added to the center’s staff — four operations interns who will help handle the reservation system at the center and tasks around the center, and six engagement interns to assist with program development.

“I’m very proud to be working with a team of class members who really want to put students first and focus on students,” Pinto added.

The center has not yet determined any specific events it will host.

“I think that once we establish a rhythm in which all these people from corners of the University are using the space and coming together, we will be able to better collaborate with students in a variety of ways,” Pinto said.

Pinto emphasized the role of students and collaboration with CIOs in the process of establishing the center in its pilot year.

A student advisory board will be established later this year to discuss and adjust the center’s operations.

“At the end of the day the Multicultural Center should be trying to collaborate with students,” Pinto said. “We hope we can help students achieve their visions for the space as well.”

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