Multicultural Suite to open in Student Center

By on March 9, 2017

The Carl Hansen Student Center will receive its newest addition on Wednesday, March 22, as the university will unveil the new Multicultural Suite in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:30 a.m.

The Multicultural Suite will be used as a space where students of all backgrounds can spend time with each other.

Chief Diversity Officer Diane Ariza explained that the university’s goal was to provide space for the multicultural organizations, as well as all students at the university, regardless of their backgrounds.

When the Student Center was unveiled, there was discussion back then that the multicultural students did not have space before, and (those students) recognized that other student groups had space,” Ariza said. “The building had already been designed, not with multicultural students in mind, so we revisited (the idea) recently because students were asking.

Ariza said the university felt it would only be fair to create a space for multicultural students, seeing as many student organizations have spaces in the Student Center.

“(The issue) was, ‘Why wouldn’t there be a multicultural suite?’ while the (Student Government Association) and all the other organizations (have space in the Student Center),” Ariza said.

Ariza said other universities played a role in the idea of a multicultural suite at Quinnipiac.

“There’s been quite a few universities that have added multicultural centers and identity centers to (their) student centers, so we’re a late bloomer with that,” Ariza said.

History was also a factor in the decision to create a multicultural space for students here at Quinnipiac. Ariza explained that, as many universities began to become integrated in the 1960s, the students who were newly admitted to the universities felt as though they did not have a space in which they could express their backgrounds and identities.

“A lot of it goes back to the history… in the 60s, and even today… how do you create a space where students feel comfortable,” Ariza said.

Vice President of the Muslim Student Association Ali Munshi explained the role students played in having a multicultural space designed.

“I believe the original idea came about because multicultural students envisioned a campus where students of all cultures had a place to hang out and get to know each other,” Munshi said.

The idea of a multicultural suite has been in the works for a while, according to Munshi.

“The idea has been around for sometime now, but the other multicultural groups, especially student leaders like Luna Charles and Zeynep Aydogan, have been working very diligently to get this process moving,” Munshi said. “Administration was very receptive to it and came to the multicultural students and informed them that space was available, and from there we went straight into working out designs.”

While the idea of the multicultural suite had existed for a while, its completion comes later than the original date the university desired. The original plan was to have the suite completed over winter break, according to Ariza.

Munshi said there were minor issues that caused the delays in the suite’s opening.

“The construction has been delayed because of the lack of furniture and certain amenities in the suite,” Munshi said. “The suite is available for use, but lacks the right doors, or any furniture.”

Ariza said the decision to delay the opening stemmed from students, rather than the administration itself.

“We decided to delay because the students felt that if (the space) wasn’t ready to be unveiled… then let’s wait (to unveil it),” Ariza said.

Munshi echoed a similar sentiment when asked about the student’s role in delaying the opening.

“The multicultural students decided that we really only get one chance to open this suite the way we want to, and that if we do open it, we would want to do it right. So we all collectively decided to wait,” Munshi said.

Sophomore sociology major Amy Brenner expressed curiosity as to how often the space will be utilized.

“I think it’s a cool idea,” Brenner said. “I don’t know how much it’ll actually be used, but I think that’s something to look forward to. (The space) was used a lot before, so I’m curious to see how often the space gets used for this purpose.”

Sophomore biomedical science major Chelsea Gabaly expressed similar cautious optimism in regard to the space now being used for a multicultural suite.

“It’s definitely a good idea so people can meet others that (may be of similar backgrounds). I’m curious how much (the space) will be used,” Gabaly said.

The Multicultural suite will be located in the hallway between the post office and the piazza.

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