INDIANA, Pa. — Indiana University of Pennsylvania will open its new Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Jan. 26, at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the community.
The Center is located on the first floor of Elkin Hall, on the corner of Oakland Avenue and School Street.
In 2016, the Pennsylvania State System Board of Governors approved a $2.7 million bond for renovations to the building to create the center, which is designed to respect contemporary students’ self-identification by offering one location on campus where students can access services to address multiple aspects of culture, identity and diversity.
The space was designed after community-wide input, including from faculty, students, alumni and staff. The center has space for student organization offices, private meeting areas, a multipurpose room, and a dance studio.
“The center, strategically located in the center of campus, is a place that will allow students to recognize and celebrate their history and identity while interacting with others with different perspectives and backgrounds,” said IUP President Dr. Michael Driscoll. “There is no more important task than ensuring that IUP is a place where we can all feel welcome to learn, work and live, and helping our community to gain an appreciation for diversity is key to that mission.”
Light refreshments will be provided after the ceremony inside the building.
In August 2016, under Driscoll’s direction, IUP developed the Center for Multicultural Student Leadership and Engagement (MCSLE). This office was created to reflect the recommendations from the Middle States Accreditation Review, as well as the outcomes from faculty, staff, and students who attended the 2016 IUP Diversity and Inclusion Symposium in the spring semester.
MCSLE is the reorganization of two former university offices: the Center for Student Life and the African American Cultural Center. By combining these offices, IUP has improved its efficiency of providing stronger student services and opportunities for educational programming promoting a greater appreciation for diversity, inclusion and multicultural competency.
MCSLE is comprised of four offices working together — Multicultural Affairs and Student Success; Student Leadership and New Student Success; Greek Life and Student Engagement; and Program Coordination, Communication, and Assessment.
The reorganization and the new space is designed to encourage programming that is wide-ranging. It capitalizes on shared resources for the benefit of serving all students, encourages mindful collaboration of the importance of inclusion in multicultural programs and allows more purposeful planning of events through a unified calendar.
The new center in Elkin Hall provides 85 percent more space for student services and programming than was offered in the former Center for Student Life and African American Cultural Center spaces.
MCSLE and the Elkin Project are key initiatives that support one of the four goals of IUP’s Strategic Plan: “Prepare all of IUP’s students for success in work and life, in addition to academic success.”