The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

Multicultural Center open to students, staff, classes

De Anza College encouraging cultural diversity and education

At the Intercultural/International Studies Division faculty meeting on Jan. 12, the participants celebrated the division’s successes.

“De Anza College is developing the central MCC building into a center for multicultural democracy with facilities to integrate academic programs with community-oriented learning experiences. It will help prepare students to be civic-minded, cross-culturally competent, well-informed and active participants in the communities where they live and learn,” according to the division website. 

“It may be finished any day now,” division dean Edmundo Norte said. “Originally the planned completion date of the project was last November. It then went to December, and continues thus far. However, only a few little details remain unfinished inside the building. More work should be done on landscaping.” 

He said that benches will be installed, flowers will be planted, and the whole area will be arranged. 

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“Perhaps, benches are good idea for fundraising: to name a bench after a donor,” Norte said. 

The reduced campus budget of the whole campus impacted the initial plan for the center, Norte said. In particular, murals that were to be put on the center’s small tower, now cannot be done.

“It is possible to offer art students the opportunity to do the work voluntarily or as a student’s work study,” Norte said. It has yet to be decided.

With murals or not, students’ art will be displayed at the center, assistant for the Intercultural/International Studies Division Jo Anne Okabe-Kubo said. “We will be putting some art from the art on campus committee and also working with art students from different classes.” 

This art will be displayed inside the building, particularly at the meeting area, and will represent cultural diversity, Okabe-Kubo said.

Turning the building into “a home for all various cultural groups” was the main idea for the renovation, Norte said. The most essential changes include the newest classroom equipment that turned all classrooms into “smart” ones, with computers, DVD players and Internet access for instructors. 

Another innovation is a more community-friendly design, he said. “Two classrooms were lost when the building was remodeled, but it gained a new design conducive  for cooperative and community-oriented work.” Larger meeting and conference areas, as well as redesigned offices serve this purpose. 

“Several years ago when the building was being planned, Duane Kubo who was ICS division dean at that time included us in designing a space where we could be in close contact with other community leadership programs like the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute (APALI) which is headed by Michael Chang and Jim Nguyen,  as well as with faculty, staff, and students who are working on Women’s Studies, African Ancestry, and Chicana/o social issues. He believed, as most of us do, that when we have space to work together, exchange ideas, and just get to know each other, great ideas can evolve and meaningful relationships can develop that can enrich our teaching and learning, and all of our lives.

Intercultural/International Studies Division has 21 study programs, which include world languages, intercultural studies, including an emphasis in African American, Asian American, Chicano/Chicana and Native American Studies and women’s studies, as well as Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute and Latino/a Empowerment at De Anza, according to the official website. The multicultural center will host and organize various events.

Currently, the Latina/o Heritage Events committee and the Women’s History Month committee meetings take place in here. And, in early March, Pulitzer Prize winning author Sonia Nazrio will present a talk on campus, Coronado said. 

“I get to work in such a fantastic space. Students are really happy to have this space to work in. In the first two weeks of the quarter, I’ve seen them working together on projects in the open area, sitting quietly at the tables doing their homework with their earbuds in, and simply hanging out … ,” Coronado said. “We have needed a flexible space like this at De Anza for a long time.”

MCC INTERIOR – View of what visitors first see at the new Multicultural Center when they go inside. (Nick Gonzales/La Voz Weekly)

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