On Jan. 1, 2022, the new Opportunity Center will be implemented on USD’s campus. Along with the change, the Center for Diversity and Community (CDC) will be reimagined. The space will have a Multicultural Affairs office and will be open for all student organizations.
Vice President of Student Services and Dean of Students Kim Grieve said the Opportunity Center would provide leadership training, expand student services and offer training for faculty and staff to give them knowledge of available resources for students.
“There’ll be one office that will be kind of a rotating office which student support service areas will come in,” Grieve said. “So, for instance, disability services, career services, the veteran center will be there (at) different times, so students can also just come to the Opportunity Center to meet with those particular offices.”
Provost Kurt Hackemer said the Opportunity Center would be located in the Muenster University Center but not in the current CDC space. He said the Opportunity Center will become a one-stop shop for students to find resources to solve any problems or answer questions they may have.
“We’re a large campus, we have offices scattered in different locations across campus. Some of those offices, I think, sometimes feel a bit mysterious, or students don’t know where to go to solve a particular problem, and that this is the office that is there to make sure that students get the resources they need to be successful,” Hackemer said.
Grieve said the Multicultural Affairs office will oversee the cultural student organizations such as the Union of African American Students, Spectrum and the Asian Student Association and help them to continue programming, planning and supporting students. Grieve said current student organizations will no longer have permanent office spaces in the CDC and that the CDC will be more open to all student organizations.
“If they have things that need to be stored and things like that, we have the student org room that we’re reviewing so that they’ll have space there,” Grieve said. “They can check out the rooms anytime they want for meetings and that kind of thing, but it won’t be just for them. It’ll be open to all student organizations to make reservations for those rooms.”
Hackemer said the university does not have a concrete vision for the Multicultural Affairs office, but students will be able to voice their needs for what the office will be and what it will do. He said previously the CDC was the Coyote Student Center and was set up like a co-working space.
“I think it will give all student organizations freer access to work in (a) space that they might want to use as their student rotation function,” Hackemer said. “So any student organization that’s working on a project that wants to hold a meeting that wants to take advantage of whatever the resources are can come in and use that space.”
The Multicultural Affairs office will be a part of Student Services, Grieve said, so it will work closely with the Opportunity Center but will remain in a separate space.
“It will be here to support students moving forward as it has done in the past and that students are still able to do the programming that they have always done, and so we’ll be supportive of that,” Grieve said.
Currently there are no student feedback sessions planned. USD will present the plans for the Opportunity Center and Multicultural Affairs office to the South Dakota Board of Regents Dec. 8-9. President Gestring’s office did not respond to multiple email requests for an interview.