U-M’s new multicultural center celebrates grand opening

Michigan News

It’s a new chapter for the Trotter Multicultural Center, which gains a brand new building and address in the heart of the University of Michigan campus.

The $10-million facility—which serves students of all cultural identities—is now located on State Street and easily accessible to the academic community. Nearly a year-and-a-half after it broke ground, the 20,000-square-foot building will open to the community April 11.

The center is a space that was created with input from students and showcases the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. It is designed to be a gathering space where students, faculty, staff and alumni have the opportunity to engage in dialogue and conversation—formal and informal—around topics such as cultural identity, race, gender, multiculturalism and more.

The Trotter Multicultural Center, as it is known today, began as Trotter House in 1971 when African American students united under the Black Action Movement to help students who experienced obstacles within their educational process.

Julio Cardona, director of the Trotter Multicultural Center, looks forward to expanding the center’s mission in promoting an inclusive campus climate. With 20 years of experience in launching innovative initiatives in higher education and recognized efforts to foster a diverse, equitable and inclusive organizational climate via data-driven solutions, Cardona is ready for this new chapter.

What is the importance of the Trotter Center moving?

Cardona: The location of the Trotter Multicultural Center on State Street makes it a central prominent point on campus, which is easily accessible to students with an array of amenities. It includes lounges, a multipurpose room, meeting rooms, reflection rooms, quiet study space and student organization space.

This is a historic time for the Trotter Multicultural Center. The new location of the building on State Street is an important indicator of the commitment of the university to increase accessibility to the center. As a supportive home and environment committed to social justice and diversity, Trotter will continue to serve as a space that promotes an inclusive campus climate.

What kind of services and programs will be provided to students?

Cardona: The Trotter Multicultural Center serves students of many cultural identities and is a center dedicated to celebrating and fostering U-M’s diversity in a way that is inclusive and more visible.

It offers many services to all students and the programming is extensive—from a broad range of arts, music and food-related activities, to developing student leaders who understand both multiculturalism and social justice, to cultural awareness-related educational programming.

In addition to services and programs housed in the previous center, it now includes a multipurpose room for up to 300 people for banquets or conferences, and an active-learning, classroom-style configuration for 100 students.

Can all U-M students use the center or is it a space only for minority students?

Cardona: The Trotter Multicultural Center is open to the entire campus community—students, faculty, staff and alumni. It is a facility to foster intercultural engagement and strengthens connections between and among communities.

How is faculty involved?

Cardona: Academic courses will be taught faculty in the building beginning in Fall 2019 semester. The courses that will be offered in the Trotter Multicultural Center are aligned to the mission and vision of the Center.

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