A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Intercultural Centers Scheduled to Open in January

November 2, 2016

Student interest in an intercultural center on campus has been growing. Students have dedicated their collective efforts to exploring the role of a center with consultant Lori Patton Davis, a scholar and researcher on cultural centers in higher education.

The Merced 2020 Project will enable the campus to provide additional space for cultural groups and programs as early as 2018. In the interim, the university is using a temporary space as an intercultural hub — Room 159 in Kolligian Library, also known as the Acorn Room.

During the past month, Onar Primitivo, coordinator of Social Justice Initiatives in the Office of Student Life, conducted student focus groups to develop an implementation plan regarding the room’s use and remodeling the space. Programming, resources and events will likely focus on social justice, social justice education, building community and collective healing. The space is currently available for student use, but will soon be taken offline for renovations. It will re-open in January.

“I am proud of our students and their continued commitment to advocating for resources that will assist student success and help the campus deliver on our mission of equity and access,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charles Nies. “With a focus on intersectionality, diversity, inclusivity and social justice, a dedicated intercultural space will help our campus community foster dialogue, explore identity and build unity.”

Graduate students have also advocated over the past year for space dedicated to underrepresented graduate student populations. The original group of students seeking this space, joined by the Graduate Dean’s Advisory Council on Diversity, recently met with Nies and Dean Marjorie Zatz to identify available space and create an implementation and use plan. This space — Room 190 of Classroom and Office Building 2 — is expected to open for use in January.