USG discusses possible ethnic center

Kristen Vasas and Kristen Vasas

Members of the Undergraduate Student Government discussed whether to support an ethnic student center on campus at their general assembly meeting last night.

Minority Affairs Senator Leo Almeida presented the resolution and stressed the need for an educational and welcoming ethnic center on campus.

‘The student ethnic center will spend time on individuals and will bring cohesiveness to multicultural organizations,’ he said. ‘It can also be used as a resource for any student needing to understand ethnic culture or tradition.’

Almeida became involved with the Ethnic Student Center core committee after attending a number of their meetings. He decided that a USG resolution supporting the center passed would help validate the idea.

One of the main points discussed by the student government was the location of the center, which would be placed in the multicultural lounge of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. A number of senators present at the meeting felt that if the lounge was turned into the ESC, it would prevent students from using the space as a study area.

‘If an opportunity is presented, [the committee] will try and move into the offices next door that are currently being used for technical support,’ Almeida said in response to the concerns.

If turned into the ESC, the lounge would be used to host meetings and discussions between student organizations that would offer an accepting and welcoming atmosphere.

Vice President Nick Gamero, who is in favor of passing the resolution, feels the promise of collaboration between the two different organizations is appealing.

‘Working together is key,’ he said. ‘An organization that can better manage other organizations is beneficial to everybody.’

And even if the multicultural lounge is transformed into the Ethnic Student Center, Almeida said minority students will not be the only ones welcome.

‘The doors will be open to everybody,’ he said. ‘There are no requirements for students to use the lounge.’

Although the proposed Ethnic Student Center originally lacked support from the University community, the roughly eight-member core committee behind it has compiled a list of organizations and names of students who support their goals and aims.

But USG President Johnnie L. Lewis, who feels that the idea would be greatly beneficial to the University, still wants to hear more about the center before he passes the resolution.

‘I need to understand exactly what the center’s purpose is before signing it,’ he said. ‘Right now, that’s my biggest concern.’