ETSU’s Multicultural Center opened on the second floor of the Culp Center on Tuesday, marking an exciting change for ETSU students.
The center will provide a positive atmosphere, welcoming students and staff to embrace its intercultural dialogue, while also providing a comfortable place for relaxation.
Before the glass doors hung a blue and gold ribbon, which was ceremoniously cut by SGA president, Alex Cassell, and former SGA president, Doretha Benn.
Minutes before the ceremony, a small crowd gathered outside the center’s doors in eager anticipation of the unveiling. Many people peered through the glass walls, excited by the contents within.
To begin the ceremony, Mary Jordan, special assistant to the president, spoke about what the center means for the university as a whole.
“This room serves as a lounge for our students, and even for our faculty to enjoy,” Jordan said with a pleasant smile.
As Benn and Cassell took their places in front of the symbolic ribbon, Jordan continued with a few more remarks.
“The multicultural center will also serve as an open dialogue about cultures, our differences and even our similarities,” Jordan said.
Upon entering the room, guests were offered refreshments, including cake to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. In the middle of the room stood a painting of King.
In the upper corner of the room, a massive map covers the wall. In front of it are a few display cases, each holding an artifact. Café style tables and chairs are placed around the room. A long table is also available.
Doretha Benn, a member of the committee of student affairs, said her team started from nothing.
“We began working on this a little over two years ago,” Benn said. “We met weekly. We started from scratch with a mission and vision statement. We had to plan what was going into this.”
Benn said student opinions influenced the design of the center.
“I was a student rep; there was another undergraduate student rep,” Benn said. “We held focus groups for students and talked to students about what they wanted to see and have for this room. Their input and their voices were heard, and we’ve tried to make it happen the best we can.”
Cassell also demonstrated excitement for the center.
“I’m excited for what this center is going to do for our students,” Cassell said.
Cassell went on to say that he wants to encourage an open dialogue among students.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Benn added. “[It’s about] immersing yourself in something new and learning about other cultures and people.”