The UNITI Cultural Center (UCC) held its open house on Wednesday, September 20, encouraging students to check out the space and discuss diversity on campus over coffee and cookies.
“I want people to understand that this is a place where you can just ‘be,’” said Jarvis M. Watson, Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs, while addressing the crowd of students, faculty and staff attending the event.
The UCC was established in 1978 by a council of representatives from Stony Brook’s Black and Latino organizations, joined by Black and Latino faculty and staff. The space promotes inclusiveness while continuing to acknowledge its rich historical roots in the culture of the African Diaspora and Latino experiences.
“I’ve been working here for three years now, since my freshman year, and this space really means that I can be who I am and express my culture freely,” said Princess Spencer ‘19. “The reason why I like working here is so many people come here, and I like learning about different cultures.”
The center moved to the Student Activities Center (SAC) last year after the Student Union was officially closed.
“I really like that the UCC is in the SAC now and that it’s bigger, I feel like it encourages a lot of people to come in,” said Sydney Gaglio ‘18. “I think it’s definitely needed because we need a space on campus for students of color to find community and find people that they identify with and can talk to.”
Wherever its location, however, the UCC’s mission and purpose stays the same.
“It’s a safe space for people from all over campus to come and embrace their own cultures as well as learning about other cultures. It’s also just a space to get away from the hectic atmosphere of the campus,” said Greer Mayhew ‘19, a graduate student assistant for UCC. “You can come here to study, come here to mingle and meet some new people. It’s a cool space within this hectic community.”
You can stop by for a visit to the UCC in the SAC at Room 169, or find out more about them here.