As of this past week, University of Virginia students now have a space committed to supporting the needs of underrepresented groups on Grounds with the creation of the Multicultural Student Center. Located on the lower level of Newcomb Hall in the space formerly occupied by Cavalier Daily, the Center offers a lounge area, meeting spaces that can be reserved in advance for students groups, study space with access to computers and printers, and a conference room.
As stated in their website, the resources provided by the Center have been designed to “meet the needs of multicultural students to find community and engage in rich dialogue regarding diversity and multiculturalism.” This space also seeks to function as a multipurpose, welcoming location that is open to students of all cultural backgrounds, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, ability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
“The Multicultural Student Center has been on the writing blocks for at least two to three years, so it was a big step for them to get the room and furnish it this year,” says Danielle Rodgers, a third-year student who serves as a representative on the board for the Organization of Young Filipino Americans.
According to Rodgers, it is the first all-encompassing center of its kind on Grounds, where multicultural students and anyone else who needs it can find a quiet place to study or learn more about diversity in the UVa community.
“I go there in between classes because I have friends that work there, and I just think it’s a great places for different services,” says Rodgers. “You can go down there and if you want to get involved in a multicultural atmosphere you can ask questions and feel welcomed.”
Enhanced by its physical connection to the LGBTQ Center next door, the Multicultural Student Center is supported by its close proximity to the office of Marc Guzman, the Assistant Director of Multicultural Student Services at UVa.
Rodgers believes that the fruition of the Center and its placement near other resources is a valuable addition to the UVa community.
“I know for a lot of people they just like having that option there, for people who might feel ostracized for other things,” she says. “It’s really just a safe space for everyone.”