Center of diversity


The University has entered a new phase in its plans to build a home for the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA), the Amandla Center, and a resource center for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Queer (LGBTQ) community. As part of the process to renovate the groups’ new space at 5710 South Woodlawn Avenue, the University and architects from Urban Works will launch a blog to keep students updated on the project and to encourage student, faculty, and community participation in the final design.

“Student input is crucial,” says Bill Michel, AB’92, assistant vice president for student life in the University and associate dean of the College. “This will really bring together spaces for student groups, and we hope it will be a resource for students as well as the Hyde Park community.”

Urban Works Architects, the firm heading the roughly $1 million renovation and addition, proposed the blog idea, says Michel, based on previous success with blogs it had created for similar community-based projects. As a space for posting and sharing feedback, the blog will reflect similar student-input initiatives, Michel added, such as open meetings held while planning the new dorm south of the Midway Plaisance.

The plans to consolidate the Harper-based Amandla Center, the Administration Building–based OMSA office, and a new LGBTQ resource center call for a completed design by early fall and construction to begin early this winter. The groups hope to open their doors by the start of the 2007–08 academic year.

Michel looks forward to the blog’s launch, expected in the next few weeks. As he puts it, “We will begin to create a real sense of bringing students together to learn from each other.”

Hassan S. Ali, ’07

Photo: The new center will be housed at 5710 South Woodlawn, currently home to the Publications and Training & Development offices.

July 24, 2006