The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Office of Compliance, Conduct and Inclusion will open a Multicultural Center in the new library coming this October.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Compliance, Conduct & Inclusion Jewell Worley and Title IX Coordinator and Director of Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Tabitha Smith at UVa-Wise have teamed up to bring a space for culture and inclusion to UVa-Wise.

“We envision a place where underrepresented students have a place to gather,” Worley said.

The Multicultural Center will be located on the third floor of the UVa-Wise library in the 24-hour section of the building. Worley said she wants it to be a place for the students to meet, study, brainstorm, network and educate.

Students will be able to reserve space and hold meetings in the large meeting area provided in the library. Student intern Vallen Ellis has been hired to oversee the center.

“Our first priority for Vallen as the intern is the center,” said Smith, who is Ellis’ supervisor. “She will be there in the office for students to be able to reserve space.”

Ellis will oversee the center’s social media, promote branding and marketing for the center and instigate programming and outreach.

Worley said that everyone is welcome in the Multicultural center and that she wants “multicultural to be an inclusive term” used to describe the center. She said that this center is here to serve everyone whether it is about race, gender, religion or other student aspects; it is a place for everyone who has been marginalized.

Worley said the idea to open the center came about by students, who have been a driving force in opening the center.

“The chancellor has been diligent in providing the most accessible space on campus,” Worley added.

Worley said that Library Director Robin Benke has been instrumental in helping set up the space, getting furniture and getting signs placed outside of the center. Worley and Smith said that long-term goals include hiring a full-time staff member along with a student intern to help grow and expand the center.

Worley and Smith want to include student-made artwork in the center. Students with artwork that represents diversity and inclusion, can contact Ellis at vee4d@uvawise.edu or Smith at tsh5d@uvawise.edu.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting date for the center in October will be announced.

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