The MultiCultural Center is expanding its space as well as its presence at Cal Poly, as it moves from upstairs in the Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) to downstairs in the space where the Cal Poly Rose Float used to operate.
Cross Cultural Centers Director Bryan Hubain said the new space will hopefully increase the MultiCultural Center’s reach on campus and will cater to students that have multiple identities.
“In the past year and a half we’ve been shifting gears and having a larger presence on campus,” Hubain said. “Having the new MultiCultural Center, we’re hoping for more reach, a larger presence and also focusing on intersectional programing.”
The expansion will include a kitchen to prepare cultural cuisine, a study space and a lounge area. The room will also showcase a diverse range of rotating artwork and murals. All decisions about the new space are a result of student input.
MultiCultural Center Lead Coordinator Jose Leon said the shift will help cater to the needs of growing minority populations.
“Our population is growing and our campus is becoming increasingly diverse,” Leon said. “The cultures that haven’t been on campus are now here and are increasing.”
An advisory board of students and staff voted for the expansion last spring.
“Even though there are very few underrepresented students at Cal Poly, they pay the success fees just like anyone else,” Hubain said. “Being able to have the nice spaces is a huge part of their experience at Cal Poly and we have to honor that.”
Opening at the start of the 2018-19 academic year, the new MultiCultural Center will offer more services and host more events in the new space.
“The MultiCultural Center is a space that anyone can access,” Leon said. “There’s increased traffic of not only students of color, or queer students, but all students.”
Aiming to engage more students, the Center will offer targeted services to help students feel more connected and accepted at Cal Poly. Hubain said many of the services will be geared toward women on campus.
“A lot of the times the issues that women face get glossed over at Cal Poly,” Hubain said. “So one of our priorities is building a robust offering in the future to connect with more women.”
Because of the expansion, MultiCultural Center events will be able to hold more people. Currently, weekly “Talk About it Tuesdays” meetings can fit as many as 40 students, crowding the space upstairs in the UU.
“Talk About it Tuesdays” foster conversation from all students on campus, where students can share stories and talk freely.
“If you’re not sitting in a room with someone with a different perspective, how are you growing as a person?” Leon said.
Correction: A previous version of this article quoted Jose Leon saying “colored students” instead of “students of color.” It has been corrected.