Western Washington University unveiled its brand-new, state-of-the-art Multicultural Center (MCC) at the building’s grand opening on October 10. Construction on the building began last winter and finished in July 2019. Going forward, it will house the Ethnic Student Center, Multicultural Student Services, and four other centers—the Blue Resource Center, the Disability Outreach Center, the Queer Resource Center, and the Womxn’s Identity Resource Center—all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the Associated Students Student Advocacy and Identity Resource Centers. This project now connects the Viking Student Union, the Bookstore, the Multipurpose Room, and KUGS, the student radio station.
The center, which cost $20 million,received a large portion of its funding from a new student fee that passed in 2016. Students voted in favor of the$30-per-quarter fee in the spring of 2016, which took immediate effect.The income not only went toward the construction of the building but will also help the upkeep of the facility moving forward. Other funding comes from reserves in Viking Union bonds and additional university funds.
“Western’s new Multicultural Center is a turning point in Western and Bellingham’s history. It marks a time when students of color are leading transformational work to both survive and thrive in a predominantly white institution. The new MCC will honor students who worked to create the space and will have an immeasurable impact, giving students of color a space to engage in challenging the colonized Eurocentric forms of education here at WWU,” Victoria Matey-Mendoza, programming and events manager for the Ethnic Student Center, told Western Today.
The Ethnic Student Center (ESC) was founded in 1991 through the Associated Students (AS) of WWU. Their website states that their mission is to “Help students affirm their identity, build a sense of community, and cultivate leadership.” Within the ESC, students can find a comfortable place to work,study, or lounge between classes.There’s also a team of staff members ready to answer questions or guide students to resources.
The Blue Resource Center, also referred to as the Social Issues Resource Center (SIRC), encourages students to “become more active and engaged citizens.” The folks at the SIRC consider it their job to spread awareness of issues that may not be covered in the mainstream media. They provide education resources, as well as a space for diverse conversations through resources and events.
AS also sponsors the Womxn’s Identity Resource Center, which is fully student-funded and student-operated.The goal of the organization is to provide encouragement to all students who identify as women or may be discriminated against due to gender identity.
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