Amid the bustle of the Service Learning Fair and the routine coffee and cookies in the Union, William Jewell College’s newest space, the Multicultural Commons located in Yates-Gill College Union room 210, had its official opening during Jewell Time Aug. 31.
The space is the product of collaboration between Jewell’s multicultural student organizations and Student Life. Support from other groups, including Tricia Hager, director of counseling services, Lori Wetmore, chemistry professor and director of the Village Partners Project, and the College’s administration enabled the project to gain momentum as a campus-wide initiative.
Wetmore, who is passionate about improving communication on campus, particularly across diverse groups, is optimistic that this space is a step in the right direction.
“I believe the space provides an opportunity for us to provide an inclusive atmosphere for all members of our campus,” said Wetmore. “Sometimes for that inclusivity to be genuine we need to allow for a space where student groups who may have limited representation to get together and find common interests and goals.”
Currently there are several multicultural groups represented on Jewell’s campus, including the Black Student Association (BSA), International Students’ Association and QUILTBAG, an LGBT advocacy and awareness group.
Micah Williams, president of BSA and junior biology major, hopes that this space will help these and other multicultural groups on Jewell’s campus thrive.
“I think this space matters because the multicultural community of Jewell needs a place where they can thrive intellectually and in a communal sense,” said Williams. “I love how it turned out and I’m ready to see it come together even more as it is better utilized.”
Increasing the degree of diversity and inclusion on campus is one of the goals outlined in the College’s 2023 Strategic Plan.
Renovations of this space occurred over the summer and the majority of planning occurred during the 2017-2018 academic year. However, the idea of creating this space has been discussed on campus since 2016 and it was initially scheduled to open in Fall 2017.