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UMD Multicultural Center Remodeled & Reopened

Emily Ness
Updated: September 18, 2019 09:07 PM

The construction has finished and the doors have opened to the University of Minnesota Duluth’s new Multicultural Center. Remodeled from its original 2004 design, the updated center includes more space, furniture and art.

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“It’s brighter. It feels most spacious out here in the community space,” Doreen Nyamwaya, Black Student Association president said.

Inside the Multicultural Center, 13 offices for 13 student organizations reside, arranged in a neighborly fashion to encourage inclusion and collaboration. Next to the offices, there is a large communal space.

“The best thing is to see all of these amazing students studying, talking to each other and utilizing this space and I think that is why I’m here. I love working with students and it makes my day every day when I come to work,” Susana Pelayo-Woodward, Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion said.

Many of the student groups helped plan and design the new space. Though they are happy with the results, they do pay homage to their old space.

“I have to be honest, it has been mixed. A lot of our new students love the space and they can’t believe we have such an amazing space because really, compared to other institutions, maybe they have a room or an office and some of our returning students, I think you know, there is some sentiment about missing their old space,” Pelayo Woodward said.

One thing that students can personalize to the fullest is their individual offices.

"We have some empowering words on the door, we also have a Black Lives Matter sign because obviously that’s a big issue to us that we also want to highlight a lot and then inside the cube, we’ve been lucky to be given some posters from Terresa Moses from Blackbird Revolt so our wall is kind of nicely decorated with those,” Nyamwaya said.

As time goes on, groups are likely to add more pictures, posters, memorabilia and so on.

“We’re still growing and trying to see how we’re going to personalize the space more by emphasizing our message but also making it feel welcoming and inclusive,” Nyamwaya added.

Other decorations within the remodeled center include two murals by artist, Jimmy Longoria. One mural called ‘Native Lost Boy’ lines nearly an entire wall.

“Everything is abstracted because each population has its own history,” Longoria said.

The painting, which is as intricately designed as it is colorful, was donated by the Tweed Museum of Art and will remain in the Multicultural Center for years to come.

“Throughout the years, I did find my voice, found my space here in the Multicultural Center through the different student organizations so I would say that it has just kind of helped shaped me, given me a place of belonging and helped me become a better leader and just a better advocate for new incoming students,” Nyamwaya said.

Credits

Emily Ness

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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