After receiving support from the administration, Michigan State University revealed that they will be building a new Multicultural Center on campus. Individuals working on this project are aiming to provide a space for students of various backgrounds to utilize for their events, as a meeting spot, a place to study and for self-reflection.
After substantial feedback from numerous student groups on campus asking for some sort of multicultural structure, the university began plans to implement a free-standing multicultural center in late 2019 after the university was presented with a 10-step plan to implement more initiatives to support diversity, equity and inclusion. While the recent push has been strong, some student groups have been asking for a building for several decades.
"BSA has been fighting for a free-standing multicultural building since before I was born. This is something that we have been fighting for for over two decades," Black Students Alliance (BSA) President Sharron Dynasty Reed-Davis said. "Historically, BSA has been the first to ask for this for a long time due to our organization establishment before other student organizations on campus."
In May 2020, MSU decided that the architecture companies on the project will consist of Hamilton Anderson and Moody Nolan.
The University is looking into what is feasible for this project.
Per Michigan State's Multicultural Center's website, there are three potential locations that are being considered to host the center. The options include renovating the International Center or creating two new buildings on the corner of Shaw Lane and Farm Lane, directly next to Shaw Hall.
"This building signifies a physical location of the diversity that MSU has. The rooms that Cores and Cops currently have available are not really functional," CRU's Día de la Mujer chair Anamaria Lopez said. "In terms of what CRU hopes to see, I know that one of the spaces that we have been pushing for is the dreamer space or some sort of visible resource for DACA recipients, especially with constantly changing policies."
"The center is set up to have a living room, a series of small and large meeting rooms, three classrooms that seat about 100 people and has an accordion door," Senior Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services and Auxiliary Enterprises Vennie Gore said. "One of the things that students asked for was backpack lockers, a community kitchen and prayer rooms, and all-gender restrooms."
Gore said more information and recommendations will be given to the board in the coming months.
"In April we will present to the board with a set of recommendations to go forward," Gore said. "When we do that, we have to give a set of recommendations in terms of funding."
At the Oct. 30 board of trustees meeting trustee Melanie Foster said that the university was not accepting any major project requests for the fiscal year 2022, but a five-year plan was outlaid.
"I would say that the process has been student-driven, so there have been students on both the planning and steering committee. We really listen to what students said that they wanted in this facility," Gore said.
More information about the Multicultural Center can be found on the project's website.
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