Students, faculty celebrate grand opening of HOME
The Hub for Organizing, Multiculturalism and Equity originally opened last semester
AU Student Government held a reception for students and faculty last week in honor of the grand opening of The Hub for Organizing, Multiculturalism and Equity, also known as HOME.
The March 28 event was a formal introduction of the multicultural facility, located in MGC 331A, that was originally opened to students in November. Among the panel of speakers were SG President Yamillet Payano, Vice President of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Fanta Aw, former SG President Taylor Dumpson and AU professor Sybil Williams.
Payano opened the event by introducing the student space and its mission.
“HOME is open to everyone,” Payano said. “No student can be excluded from this space and all are welcome. That way we can come together and socialize to learn and grow among those in our community here at American University.”
Dumpson, who led the push for the student space, used the grand opening as an opportunity to describe her inspiration and goals for opening the room.
“As a student of color when I came here to American University my freshman year, I often felt like I didn’t have a space to belong at a predominately white institution,” Dumpson said. “I felt a lot of times that I was invisible.”
Dumpson said she planned to open the space even before the hate crime targeting her and black women at AU involving bananas hung around campus by string tied like nooses in May 2017.
“When the hate crime happened, already on my platform was creating a multicultural student space on the third floor of MGC because I recognized that there needed to be a space where students, regardless of their identity, would feel like they are at home here at their university,” Dumpson said.
Students have been utilizing the space since its introduction, Dumpson said in an interview following the event.
“At least 10 [students are in here] on a regular day,” Dumpson said. “Within the first month there were at least 150 students that had signed up [for access to the room].”
HOME is open to all AU students and AU ID access can be requested through an online form.
But it’s not just student leaders who said they are excited about the new multicultural space. Williams, who teaches in the Department of Performing Arts, spoke to the event attendees about her own plans for HOME.
“It’s this whole idea of community that excited me more than anything,” Williams said. “One of the things I often hear students say is that ‘Once I leave [this classroom] I don’t know where I’m going to go.’ And now I can say to them ‘go HOME.’”