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Drexel to Open New Intercultural Center to Highlight Diversity on Campus

Intercultural Center

A new Intercultural Center will become the hub of Drexel’s multicultural initiatives. The Center, located on 33rd and Chestnut Streets, will open its doors on October 6.

Housed in a two-story, 18,000 square-foot building, the new Intercultural Center will become a place for intellectual, faith and identity development and a place that fosters community building and collaboration among diverse groups within and outside the University community.

The Intercultural Center will provide a venue for events, speakers, workshops, exhibitions, and programs that foster cultural and religious respect and understanding among all groups. The Center embraces Drexel’s broad definition of diversity, which includes, among other dimensions of diversity, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, racial and ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender identity, according to Michele Rovinsky, assistant vice president, Office of Equality and Diversity.

“The Intercultural Center will be an outward expression of Drexel’s ongoing respect for and support of its diverse community,” said Rovinsky. “It will reinforce that Drexel provides a welcoming community.”

The Intercultural Center will feature a seminar room, a Muslim prayer and reflection room, an interfaith chapel, an exhibition gallery, a resource center, an activity room and a kitchen. The Center will also house the administrative offices of Drexel’s Office of Equality and Diversity, Office of Multicultural Programs, Student Abroad program and Interfaith Council that includes the spiritual ministries of the Newman Center, Drexel Hillel Chapter, Asbury Ministry, and Baptist Campus Ministry, and the St. Katharine Drexel Chapel.

Muslim students, faculty and staff will be able to use the prayer room for four of their five daily prayers Monday through Friday based on the Center’s operating hours. The Interfaith Council will finalize weekend hours in order to accommodate at least two prayer times.

Each month the Center will feature a different diversity theme with planned events providing opportunities to learn more about multicultural and ethnic topics. One of the Center’s highlighted programs is the Book Circle. About six books per academic year will be chosen that explore diverse topics. A limited number of these will be distributed free at the Center. Discussions on the books will be held at the Center. The first discussion will be held on Beverly Daniel Tatum’s Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

A traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition “Singgalot: The Ties and Bind” will bring Filipino American history to life at the Intercultural Center’s gallery from November 15 to January 13, 2011. Nearly 100 images and historical documents will vividly portray the social history and the development of the Filipino community in the United States.

“The Intercultural Center will provide an environment that encourages engagement among all students, faculty, staff and the community by promoting dialogue and raising awareness and appreciation for diverse perspectives and traditions,” said James Tucker, senior vice president for Student Life and Administrative Services.

Drexel diverse student body hails from 50 states and 130 foreign countries. Female students comprise more than 50 percent of the student population. Almost 35 percent are African or Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander, Hispanic, bi-racial or students from other countries. The University hosts a large number of cultural, religious and identity-oriented student organizations on campus, including Asian, Filipino, Hellenic, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Romanian, Latin American, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Christian, Islamic, Jewish and Hindu student groups.