Multicultural Student Services (MSS), as part of the Office of the Dean of Students, aims to promote inclusion and engagement for historically underrepresented students. We enhance the undergraduate experience through co-curricular programs and culturally relevant services that are meant to empower students in their identity, build community, and help a diverse group of students find their individual and collective voices.
Through MSS, we work with students to develop programs offered through the Multicultural Student Center (MSC) and the LGBTQ Center, both located on the lower level of Newcomb Hall. These important centers of student life have been designed to meet the needs of multicultural students to find community and engage in rich dialogue. The Centers offer meeting and program space for student groups, study space with computers, a comfortable lounge area, and a conference room. These Centers are open to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, ability, religion, ethnic or national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Opened in 2016, the Multicultural Student Center aims to facilitate a student-centered, collaborative space that supports historically underrepresented communities, while cultivating the empowerment of all students. We seek to enhance personal development, build understanding through dialogue of diverse experiences, and equip students with tools to become socially conscious citizen leaders. Through these efforts, the Multicultural Student Center hopes to inspire cultural fluency and the sense of responsibility necessary to ensure the dignity and respect of all individuals.
The MSC was created by students and student leaders who advocated for such a space through the Multicultural Student Center Initiative (MSCI). In the fall of 2014, a group of students from a variety of organizations joined together to create the Multicultural Student Center Initiative, a working group whose aim was to advocate for a multicultural center on Grounds. The Multicultural Student Center Initiative researched peer institutions, developed student needs assessments, and studied the repurposing of the Kaleidoscope Center for Cultural Fluency in order to create a thorough proposal for the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Less than two years after the creation of the Multicultural Student Center Initiative, and before the proposal was complete, members of the Office of the Dean of Students began looking for spaces within Newcomb Hall for the center. Due to the generosity of the Cavalier Daily, who agreed to move their offices, the future multicultural center found a home in the lower level of Newcomb. In April 2016, the Multicultural Student Center Initiative and the Office of the Dean of Students released a joint statement announcing to the University community the Multicultural Student Center would open that fall.
Throughout the summer, members of the newly-created Multicultural Student Services unit within the Office of the Dean of Students prepared for the fall opening. Finally, after many months of planning, the center opened on Friday, November 4th-- days before the 2016 presidential election.
THE MULTICULTURAL STUDENT CENTER WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GENEROSITY OF THE UVA PARENTS FUND WHOSE FINANCIAL GIFT PROVIDED THE FURNISHIINGS, TECHNOLOGY, AND CARPET FOR THE CENTER. WE ARE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL FOR THEIR SUPPORT.
The LGBTQ Center supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Opened in 2001, with generous financial support from the Serpentine Society, the LGBTQ Center works to raise awareness and inclusion of sexual and gender minorities as important contributors to the broader University community.