Following months of renovations, one of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s most historic buildings once again will open its doors in early November for the student organizations that meet and plan activities there.
Since the Thomas R. Wall Home became the Multicultural Education Center (MEC) in 1972, the Multicultural Education Center (MEC), 751 Algoma Blvd., the building has become an environment that promotes the appreciation of cultural diversity as well as a resource and information center for students, staff, faculty and community members interested in increasing their understanding of cultural differences.
“All students who have come through the MEC see it as a home away from home. It becomes very near and dear to their heart,” said Irma Burgos, interim director for the Center for Equity and Diversity.
The MEC is home to the Norma Shanebrook Multicultural Library, the Microcomputer Tutorial Laboratory, the Writing Assistance Program and the Mathematics Skills Tutorial Program. The American Indian Student Association, Asian Student Association, Black Student Union, Hmong Student Union, MEC Student Board and Student Organization of Latinos all operate out of the MEC.
Senior Sam Lee has been visiting the center for several years. “One of the great things about the center is that you get to build relationships with the advisers, join organizations and the advisors are always willing to help you with anything. They help you connect with the community and to network.”
Across campus, the Campus Center for Equity and Diversity on the corner of Elmwood and Irving avenues has a new addition of its own, thanks to support from the Provost’s Office.
The LGBTQ Resource Center will host an open house at 7 p.m. Nov. 19. A grand opening celebration is slated for the spring.
The mission of the LGBTQ Resource Center is to identify and respond to the concerns and needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning students; provide high-quality support services that contribute to the academic and personal growth of LGBTQ students, faculty, staff and allies; and offer a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ people and their allies.
“This is from the ground up that we are establishing our place on campus,” said LGBTQ Resource Center Director Liz Cannon.
In the short term, the center will help guide students toward the resources they need to complete class projects and answer questions. In the long term, she hopes to obtain LGBTQ certification, Cannon said.
Senior Megan Heiden, a community adviser in Taylor Hall, sees the center’s presence on campus as an important step.
“We had been meeting in the Women’s Center, and they have been a huge ally and advocate for us. It’s nice to have our own branch now,” she said.
Carolyn Koch contributed to this story.