CSUCI's Multicultural Dream Center
By Zoe Lance

For the students that frequent the Multicultural Dream Center (MDC), it’s more than a center and lounge area.

When you walk past the center’s new location in the Bell Tower building, you’ll see students actively work in groups to complete homework and projects. You’ll watch them engage in workshops on how to manage their money and time. And you’ll hear them in deep, meaningful conversation about social justice issues.

This is exactly what the Retention, Outreach & Inclusive Student Services team loves to see happening in their space and throughout campus. Its mission is to cultivate a respectful and welcoming community for marginalized student populations, and to strengthen a campus culture of student success. The MDC does this through offering a communal space and a diverse educational programing calendar to match student interest.

This semester alone, the MDC has hosted critical dialogues around First Amendment rights, diversity in media representation, mindfulness, and student development. Additionally, the center has celebrated National Coming Out Day, hosted a screening of the movie “Get Out” and offered Undocumented Student Ally Trainings.

Hiram Ramirez, Director of Inclusive Student Services and the MDC, says that through these programs and services students have authentic conversations with staff that acknowledge their rich life stories. Since moving to a larger space this fall, more students are becoming regular visitors.

It is a safe space for students of any identity. The staff truly makes the center the amazing resource that it is.

 Lauren Hernandez

“The staff engages with students in small ways, but it could have larger implications for the students in feeling that they can come here and ask questions,” he said. “We want students to understand that this space is a community.”

As a student assistant for the MDC, Lauren Hernandez has experienced the holistic aspects of the MDC’s services. The senior Liberal Studies student appreciates how the staff is always willing to lend a listening ear and to talk about life after graduation.

“It is a safe space for students of any identity,” she said. “The staff truly makes the center the amazing resource that it is. They ensure an environment where student success is always encouraged.”

Charles Osiris, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs/Retention, Outreach & Inclusive Student Services, says that the staff create and foster a welcoming campus community for all students, with an emphasis on the well-being of marginalized student populations.

“As staff, we have a responsibility to help all students, particularly those who do not have the social capital to navigate the collegiate experience,” Osiris said. “There is power in aspirational role models for students and this space facilitates opportunities for students to talk with and be mentored by those role models. It’s really about having a multicultural perspective and a place that captures the opportunity for all students to fulfill their dreams and goals, and understand issues of equity, access and inclusion.”