Multicultural Center renovation to enhance services for students, university

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 26, 2006 – As part of its continuing efforts to build a more inclusive and welcoming campus climate, Virginia Tech will renovate and expand its Multicultural Center this summer, creating a more comfortable and functional environment that will enrich the quality of life for students who utilize the center.

The $337,000 project will encompass 3,100 square feet and include the renovation of the existing Multicultural Center, located on the first floor (room 140) of the Squires Student Center, and the conversion of three adjacent meting rooms (rooms 150, 151, and 152) into office space to house the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services.

The project is scheduled to be completed in time for the start of the 2006-07 academic year.

“The existing Multicultural Center is inadequate to support the number of students who currently use the facility—renovation of the center is long overdue,” said Zenobia Hikes, vice president for student affairs. “This project will strengthen and enhance the cultural competencies of the Virginia Tech community while creating an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students. It will support a rich campus climate that contributes to a civil and just community for all Virginia Tech members.”

Hikes added that the new Multicultural Center will be a “community center” exemplifying the Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community and will help “create a community that nurtures learning and growth for all of its members.”

The new center will feature work space for multicultural student organizations, a conference room for campus meetings, and an expanded lounge and community space to facilitate a variety of lectures, workshops, and presentations.

Beginning next academic year, the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services will work with academic departments and the Center for Academic Enrichment and Excellence to host “Dialogues Around Difference,” a series of workshops focusing on student success strategies, cultural consciousness, and community collaboration.

“With the improvements to the Multicultural Center, we can enrich our programming and activities in addition to creating a comfortable space for students,” said Hikes. “We anticipate “Dialogues Around Difference” and other conversations in a safe space will promote racial reconciliation and multicultural competencies.”

The Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, which oversees the Multicultural Center and Black Cultural Center, supports the academic and co-curricular needs of all students, particularly those who are members of historically marginalized and underrepresented populations that may have concerns not addressed by other areas in the university. The office offers programs and services focused on the holistic development of all students as it relates to their cultural, personal, social, and intellectual growth. It also organizes heritage celebrations and cultural awareness programs; advises multicultural student organizations; and recruitment, advocacy, academic, and retention support services.

The Office of Multicultural Programs and Services currently reports to the Office of the Provost, but will move to the Division of Student Affairs July 1.