African American Cultural Center Unveiling at Open House

African American Cultural Center renovation 2018

All four of the Campus Community Centers will open their doors to welcome visitors at their annual open houses on Tuesday, August 21, 2018.

Visitors are welcome in Multicultural Student Affairs, located on the fourth floor of Talley Student Union, and the GLBT Center and Women’s Center, both located on the fifth floor, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on August 21, 2018.

From 2:00-4:00 p.m. on August 21, 2018, the African American Cultural Center will officially open its newly renovated space. The office completed its transformation to an open plan with new furnishings, paint and carpeting and the addition of a new spacious, digitally-equipped meeting room just in time for the new academic year.

African American Cultural Center Unveiling

At the end of the spring semester, the staff of the African American Cultural Center learned that a renovation of their space might occur. To prepare, Director Moses Greene and staff members Sachelle Ford, John Miller and Angela Jenkins considered how to make the space more useful to the campus community while keeping students at the heart of the center. The resulting renovation included removing walls, expanding meeting spaces and making updates throughout.

Visitors will immediately notice one of the most prominent changes, the removal of the dividing walls surrounding the former lounge area in the center of the suite. The new openness allows anyone who arrives to see students and community members using and enjoying the space and better integrates the offices and meeting rooms.

Assistant Director Sachelle Ford describes the large new meeting room on the south side of the suite as a physical representation of the “pivot” the center will make with the redefinition of the assistant director position to specifically serve faculty needs in the areas of research and scholarship. Ford looks forward to engaging scholars from both the faculty and student populations in small meetings and workshops.

“This will be a big deal for us and allow us to better serve the university in terms of research and engagement,” stated Ford.

Program Coordinator John Miller explained that all of the changes have been intentional in their focus on what students need and deserve from their center. “We host resident organizations who will now be more easily able to have meetings, programs and receptions in the space. Our ‘living room’ will be a space that is functional and will also feel like home. Students will be able to see friends, grab a snack and gain both physical and emotional refreshment.” He noted that cultural student organizations such as the African Student Union and the Society of Afrikan American Culture will also benefit from the changes.

University Library Technician Angela Jenkins, who manages the African American Cultural Center Library and Media Room housed on the second floor of Witherspoon Student Center, anticipates increased traffic flow to the library from regular events such as the weekly “What’s on the Table” discussions. Jenkins provides assistance for students who wish to investigate or research topics relating to materials on display in the suite or in the art gallery. She lauds the decision to renew the environment, stating, “The design of a space impacts not only the work you are doing in the space but how you feel about the work being done.”

Upcoming Events in the New Space

The African American Cultural Center will host the following upcoming events. Drop in to see the new space in Witherspoon Student Center at 2810 Cates Avenue and participate in the programs.

  • Open House & Art Gallery Opening: “High Cotton: Paying Homage to and Celebrating My Intergenerational Roots”
    Tuesday, August 21, 2018, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
  • Black Faculty and Graduate Student Mixer
    Thursday, August 23, 2018, 12:00-2:00 p.m.
  • Harambee! Celebration
    Thursday, September 6, 2018, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Ujamaa Saturday: “AfroPack” Music Festival, Vendors, Food, African Drumming, Health Screenings, Artist Talk
    Date TBA, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.