A facility to house multicultural groups at the University of South Dakota will open Oct. 1 on the second floor of the Muenster University Center in tech vacated Student Services suite.
The center is designed to bring student organizations together to improve campus-wide communication and involvement, said Kim Grieve, VP of Student Affairs.
The university is in the process of hiring a faculty director, who will work with students to fill the six available offices and give a name to the long-going project.
Grieve said the multicultural center will serve students or student groups hoping to take part in inclusive discussion or projects.
“I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s just great that it’s here in the hub of campus.”
The offices will be offered to under-represented student organizations that are most active and willing to collaborate with one another. Grieve said there are about 10 organizations of that kind currently listed.
Although there are only six offices available, all organizations are welcome to use the remaining available space.
Aspen Ducheneaux, student council president of Tiospaye, said she is looking forward to better connection with other organizations on campus through the center.
Tiospaye, a Native American student group, translates into “extended family,” which is exactly what Ducheneaux said the group tries to create in the organization through encouraging student activities, academics and diversity on campus.
She said she hopes Tiospaye will be one of the six to get an office in the center.
Grieve identified USD’s need for a multicultural center when she started working at the university in 2012. She, along with additional advocates for the center like Jesus Trevino, associate vice president for diversity, knew the center had to be in a popular area.
“It’s definitely an asset to our campus,” she said. “It’ll help people be more up-to-date on the news and when events will be and stuff like that.”
Tyler Tordsen, president of the Student Government Association and former president of Tiospaye, said the center’s mission isn’t entirely centered on race, but also on student collaboration and inclusiveness.
“No matter what kind of student you are, know this is your place to go,” he said. “Inclusiveness is everything across the board, everybody together. And I think that is exactly what this is going to do.”
Tordsen and Ducheneaux envision the multicultural center as a place for everyone to utilize. They are both going to encourage first-years to come and ask questions if they have them, seek advice or even just go to do homework.
“There’s going to be people there that are going to help you with whatever you need, answer any questions you have, provide you with resources you didn’t even know existed — just a variety of stuff,” Tordsen said.