The Multicultural Center educates people about socio-racial and cultural issues and seeks to help students of color on campus. The center also serves as a hub for students to gather and hang out, get papers done in the computer lab, or do research in the Malcolm X Library. Rachel Ellis, DN
Multicultural Center: Education and inclusion
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In 1934, the 4,000-square-foot home that would eventually be converted into Ball State’s Multicultural Center was built.
Then, in 1974, the house became the Special Programs House when African-American students requested a place of “solidarity and support on campus,” according to Ball State’s website.
Today the Multicultural Center seeks “to help students of color on campus” and “assist in educating the campus community on diversity” by offering resources to students including a gathering area, a computer lab and the Malcolm X Library.
The library contains a collection of books on different cultures and LGBT issues, and also serves as a meeting room that can be reserved by students.
To further educate students, the center hosts different events, including the MLK Celebration and Speaker Series, culture exchanges and Unity Week, which began in 1980 as a way to unify the community through special cultural and educational events.
The center also is home to the EXCEL Mentor Program, a three-day summer program established in 1996 to help incoming students make friends and become familiar with college life through workshops and activities. Additionally, it holds the REACH Peer Mentoring Program, which aims to retain, engage, aspire, connect and help first year students.
After assessing the amount of use the center gets each semester and how diversity has changed over time at Ball State, vice president for business affairs and treasurer Bernie Hannon and vice president for student affairs and enrollment services and dean of students Kay Bales proposed a $4 million dollar project to relocate the Multicultural Center.
"As you can imagine, over that 46-year period of time, just how much our campus has changed and why this facility is now inadequate," Bales said during a May 4 Board of Trustees meeting. "So as you look at how diversity has changed on campus, and the number of students we're serving and just how diverse our student population is, is another reason why we want to bring forward this proposal."
The board approved the proposal, and plans to build the 10,500 square foot building, which will be located in the East Mall near Bracken Library are currently being made.
Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities and planning and management, said the university could break ground on the new center during the summer of 2019. He said it would take about a year to complete.