Renovations to Student Center for Social Justice increase space, resources for organizations


Joe McCormack

After a summer of extensive renovations, the Student Center for Social Justice and Identity reopened this semester. The updated center includes a Multicultural Lounge and two large meeting rooms for use by student organizations or anyone looking for a quiet place to study. The center is run by Associate Dean of Students Dr. Frank Dobson, who said the space used to be too small for organizations to host functions or even hold some meetings.

“The remodel was funded by the Office of the Provost and what prompted it was a recognition on the part of the administration as well as students that we needed a larger space for our many multicultural student organizations as well as a larger space for students to congregate and meet,” Dobson said. “So clearly the multicultural lounge or MLC had grown so small in terms of not being large enough to meet the needs of students.”

The facility is located on the third floor of the Sarratt Student Center across from the Pub. Today, over 30 student organizations utilize the space for meetings and events. The official grand opening will take place on Sept. 19, and the following day the center will host a Diverse ‘Dores event to introduce students the center’s resources.

“I love the new space. It’s been really fulfilling,” Kathryn Farkas, a graduate assistant for Inclusion Initiatives and Cultural Competence, said. “We were really excited for the students to come back. It has been really fulfilling to see them in there doing their homework and having their student groups. Hosting them in there has been great.”

In addition to doubling the size of the student lounge, the center provides space for various Social Justice and Identity programs such as the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center, the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, the Office of Transition Programs and the Office of Inclusion Initiatives and Cultural Competence. Even though the grand opening has not taken place yet, students are already using the space for studying and relaxation.

“[The center] is open to all Vanderbilt students, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds or affiliations with organizations or groups,” Dobson said. “But moreover, the space is there to serve the students. Whether it’s for meetings, studying, or cultural organizations. We are there to serve the students.”