Connecting Hearts: A Look Inside the Multicultural Center

The Multicultural Center, located in the main academic building on Sacred Heart University’s campus,is a place where all students are welcome. First established in Sept. 2020, the Multicultural Center was created for students who feel underrepresented. The goal, then and now, is to promote both cultural exchange and enrichment among SHU students who come from different backgrounds.

Robert Johnson, the Executive Director of Multicultural Affairs, and SHU alumnus, created the center from scratch.

“As the Inaugural Director of the Multicultural Center, I’ve had the opportunity to create from scratch what cultural programming can look like at Sacred Heart University,” said Johnson. “As an underrepresented student myself who attended Sacred Heart University, I had first-hand experience of knowing what we lacked as an institution and started from there with developing necessary programming for current students and receiving their input in regards to what they like to see here at SHU.”

The center’s vision, according to SHU’s website, is simple, to exemplify diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging with the best practices at a Catholic institution. Through open dialogue in meetings and collaboration with communities on campus, they are able to enhance cultural exchange, immersion, and engagement throughout campus. With the many events they host on campus including, kickbacks, Culture Cookouts, Wisdom Wednesdays, and many more, their goal is always the same, to reach as many students as they can and have them feel welcomed.

Felecia Jeter, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs, focuses on programming for the center as well as overseeing the MACC (Mentors Advocating for Cultural Connection) Pioneers Program. Jeter helps make the center a safe and welcoming space.

“I chose to work for Sacred Heart Multicultural Affairs because of their growing programming and the center. It is a very welcoming and safe space for students, which allows me to make connections and help students who need support from someone who looks like them. Representation and mentorship are always going to be important, and I get to be that for someone,” said Jeter.

MACC is a peer-to-peer mentoring program run through the center. In the Momentum part of the program, first-year students are paired with upperclassmen who help guide those students through their first year at SHU, according to Jeter.

“We also provide personal development for students through programming and different opportunities for them to participate in to further develop their own skills,” said Jeter.

The center also houses various clubs, such as the Black Student Union, La Hispanidad and the Asian American Pacific Islanders Club (AAIPC). These clubs have similar goals that align with those of the center, but are more focused on specific communities within the larger university.

Senior Sydni Carroll, treasurer of the AAIPC, feels a sense of community within her club and can connect more with her heritage while being a member.

“I was driven to join as I wanted to find a place where I could connect more to my heritage,” said Carroll. “It is a sense of community, and we are always welcome to new members, and anyone is free to join. At every meeting, we always start with the highs and lows of the day, and we try to make every meeting a safe place for people.”

Both the Multicultural Center and the clubs within it host events for SHU students to partake in and learn more about the resources they offer on campus. Look out for upcoming events on campus to get involved in learning more about the center and clubs on campus.

“You can expect more fantastic programming next semester. Please save the date for Jan. 17 as that is our Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. It will be at 1 p.m. in the Edgerton Center for Performing Arts. We will also be having our annual Black Love Gala in Feb. and our Multicultural Student Celebration in April. Everyone is welcome at these events,” said Jeter.

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