The Multicultural Student Center and the LGBTQ Center in the basement of Newcomb Hall closed their doors to students for the last time Wednesday night. Soon, the centers will be relocated to the second and third floors of Newcomb Hall, respectively, where a new Latinx Student Center is also set to open, and an expanded Interfaith Space was recently added. The new MSC and LGBTQ Center are expected to open Feb. 6.
To celebrate the end of an era, the MSC and LGBTQ Center hosted a “Sweet Send-Off” complete with pies and cupcakes, creating a space where students could say goodbye to the basement location and share their memories.
“There are people who will, although they’re very happy about the fact that we’re expanding, will also miss it and we just want to sort of acknowledge the important place it’s held for them and their experience,” said Vicki Gist, assistant dean of students and director of Multicultural Student Services. “We thought it would just be nice to give people an opportunity to just come and sort of say farewell to the space and look forward to the new spot.”
Dozens of students attended the event and shared how they had found their home in the MSC. One student who transferred to the University recalled that they made their first friend at the MSC, while another student said the space helped them find a sense of belonging. Several other students said the space allowed them to form their own community with the familiar faces they saw everyday.
“Before there were a lot of regulations on space, I used to come here with my friends and sometimes stay up all night talking,” fourth-year Engineering student Dorian Nguyen said. “We weren’t technically allowed to stay here overnight, but we did anyways and we’d sleep on the couches and just talk and do work all night.”
The MSC and LGBTQ Center have been a part of many fourth-year students’ college experiences. Having opened in October 2016 and 2001, respectively, the spaces have accompanied them throughout their college careers. Even graduate students continue to come to the centers to work and hang out with friends.
“It’s bittersweet that I won’t be able to finish my four years here in the same space, but it’s bittersweet for a good reason,” Nguyen said. “The only thing that’s going to happen is we’re going up, you know. We’re getting promoted. We’re finally having windows, natural sunlight [and] pipes that don’t burst randomly.”
The current locations of the MSC and the LGBTQ center each hit maximum capacity at 49 people due to fire code restraints, and the windowless rooms are tucked in a relatively unseen part of Newcomb Hall — the basement. The location, which is often referred to by students as secluded, led many students to advocate for larger, more visible spaces.
The plan to move the spaces was announced at the end of the spring semester last May, with the MSC moving to what was formerly the Game Room on the second floor of Newcomb Hall, while the LGBTQ Center is moving to what is currently the Kaleidoscope Room on the third floor.
After some schedule changes, the specific moving timeline was settled early last week. This weekend will be dedicated to packing before moving officially begins on Monday.
“I’ve slept here, I’ve done work here, I’ve cried here,” said Camille Horton, MSC Student Director and fourth-year College Student. “But I can’t wait to cry on the third floor, you know, in a bigger room with windows and sunlight, so this isn’t a goodbye.”