After years of students fighting for a space dedicated to promoting diversity and equity, the state of Kansas built the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center in 2020. The centre’s student project coordinator, Brandon Clark, said today – after a year on campus – the centre’s popularity proves it is a need for students, not just a desire.
“The center has been something our students have been asking for for decades,” Clark said. “A designated and autonomous space on campus dedicated to the promotion of diversity, inclusion and equity. “
Clark said that since the ribbon cutting last November, the center has been busy and full of life.
“The students came here to do their programming, to have meetings and to hang out,” Clark said. “I think he met all the needs of the students initially by providing this space on campus, and this is evident in the way the center is always busy.”
Clark said the student programs, meetings and social events that the center holds foster a sense of belonging for all students.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of giving in particular to our multicultural students on campus their sense of belonging,“ Clark said. “They always yearned for a place on campus, as many places here are set aside for various fields or departments, which can make students feel rejected and frustrated.“
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The multicultural center does not have specific criteria for who can use the building, Clark said.
“Now there is a building and a center where you can do your programming: no one is saying that you are out of place or that the building is not for you.“said Clark. “Students are like, “This is where I find my place and my space here at K-State.” ”
Having a physical building helps students see their community on Campus, Kevin Santos Flores, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Student business, said.
“I believe that having the center, especially the physical structure, helps validate the students’ sense of their own identity and their own development because we live in a country with people who come from diverse backgrounds, ”said Flores. “So having the building provides that support and shows a sense of community and the recognition that people are here. “
Flores said the parts of the building that help create a sense of community are the kitchen and the performance hall.
“The use of the kitchen shows a connection to food and culture, and the performance hall provides another way for students to grow and be with their peers,” said Flores.
Clark said the Gabriel Hernandez Common Room is another place for students to express themselves and let go.
“While this might look like another nice part of the building, it’s a place where the community comes together. They do everything from studying to lounging and living to have solid conversations, ”said Clark. “If you want to see the liveliness of the center, you go to the Gabriel Hernandez common room.
Marche Thompson, a junior in hotel management, said students constantly filled the common room throughout the day.
“I am in here all the time, either studying or hang out. I love that every time someone goes up the stairs it adds to the variety of people in the room, ”said Thompson. “Everyone is different, but we all like to use this space together. “
Now that the building is finishedD and used daily by students, Clark said he enjoys showing the center to former students.
“I’ve even seen elders tear each other apart because they just can’t believe the center is finally here, these people fought for something they knew they could never appreciate, but the simple one. seeing current students enjoying it makes them feel fulfilled, ”said Clark. “It gives them hope that our current students will have better experiences now that the center is here, and it shows our current students that they stand on the shoulders of those who have come before and fought for that. they have that place on campus. ”