|The new Multicultural Center opened its doors to the Georgia State University community in the 2014 fall semester. Serving as a unique place to learn, grow and explore, the center provides a space where members of Georgia State University’s diverse community can gather and share in the promotion of cross-cultural interactions, awareness, communication, dialogue and mutual learning through an integration of engaging activities. Programs organized by the center are designed to allow individuals from different cultural backgrounds and social identities to engage in meaningful experiences that assist in building a culture of care.
Jeffrey Coleman, Director of the Multicultural Center, has a passion to develop programs and services that positively impact identity development, interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, academic success and graduation rates of diverse student populations.
An integral component of the Division of Student Affairs, the Multicultural Center bases its philosophy on equity, diversity and inclusion through design and implementation of programs to improve students’ multicultural competencies. The center supports the academic mission of the university by offering advocacy and support services designed to encourage student success, particularly focusing upon traditionally under-served populations such as, but not limited to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. By offering practical educational experiences for students that heighten awareness to multicultural issues and societal needs, the center strives to help students recognize the ways they benefit from understanding how their individual cultural identities and the identities of others impact their purpose and vision for life and influences personal, academic, and career aspirations.
Heritage/history month recognition events present opportunities to grow in knowledge about the cultural influences of Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQIQA, American Indian, African American, Asian Pacific American and women’s communities, as well as the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The community office hours in the center provide an opportunity for students to develop a network of support with faculty, staff and other students from their cultural community. The Multicultural Programming Council, consisting of student leaders of multicultural groups, functions as the advisory board to the center and its programs and also provides workshops, advisement and funding to student groups. Book discussions highlight publications by Georgia State University faculty related to topics of multiculturalism, diversity and difference. Classroom presentations on multicultural and diversity topics are offered in various formats, and can be adapted to the particular needs of faculty, courses and student groups. Conversations on contemporary social concerns address contemporary issues affecting societal needs while drawing connections between multiculturalism and diversity and everyday events and experiences that range from the personal (i.e. campus events) to the national and the global. The Safe Zone program is designed to create a network of allies who promote a campus environment that is open and welcoming to all LGBTQIQA students. Workshops are offered to create safe spaces for students to engage in meaningful experiences and dialogues. They are designed for various audiences and can be tailored to fit any group, whether it is for an inside or outside of the classroom presentation.
The center’s library serves as a resource for students with reference books, novels, magazines, and videos on different cultural communities around the world. Its collection consists of African American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQIQA, Middle Eastern and Native American culture and history and it provides an opportunity to promote cross-cultural experiences by placing books, articles and videos on reserve for students. These are great ways to facilitate learning and discussion outside the classroom.
Students have begun taking advantage of the Multicultural Center including participating in welcome receptions and the Open House.