Multicultural Center provides support to all

Center holds events to take stress out of finals week, opens doors to aid students.

Director of Multicultural Student Services Malika Carter poses in the Multicultural Center on Friday. Photo by Ethan Arlien/The Dakota Student.

Tucked away in a building facing demolition, UND’s Multicultural Student Services provides academic, personal and social support to all students.

The Era Bell Thompson Multicultural Center, which houses Multicultural Student Services, is sometimes easy to miss.

The small, humble house is perched next to two fraternity houses, directly across from the Memorial Union. Its home-like decor and atmosphere makes it relaxing and inviting for students, but will soon be gone.

“Unfortunately, this building is on the demolish list because the university does not want to be in the business of owning homes,” Director of Multicultural Student Services Malika Carter said. “It would be a better use of your student dollars if money was not sunk into a house as old as this one … it can be a safety concern. I hate to leave an environment like this, but I do recognize there is a greater good.”

Until a demolition date is set, Multicultural Student Services will continue its mission from the building.

That mission is to provide quality support services — academic, financial aid, personal and social — which will enhance student success at the UND.

“Multicultural Service is open to the entire campus community because we want to make sure we have allies to do our work,” Carter said. “If we don’t include others, there’s no way we can get our message out there.”

Multicultural Students Services provides a number of services for students in order to help them meet that goal. The Jack Mayfield computer lab offers free printing. It offers tutoring, class material and testing books and send emails alerting students of possible scholarship and grants. Carter encourages students to check the website if they do not receive these emails.

Meeting up

Aside from the printing and computer services provided, Multicultural Student Services also gives students a chance to meet other students.

Breaking Bread takes place every Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. Free breakfast foods and drinks are provided, and students are encouraged to come relax and converse.

Once a month, Multicultural Student Services invites people to gather for Diversity Town Hall.

“The Diversity Town Hall was created as a preventative conversation piece. We talk about anything people want to bring up,” Carter said. “The last time we spoke, we were speaking about the NotiFind issue and the email going out about the black man committing sexual assault of two women, and how vague the description was. The University Police Chief was kind enough to come over to that particular discussion and explain more about what was going on.”

Multicultural Student Services works alongside other student organizations and groups, realizing the support partnerships can bring.

“You’ll see Multicultural Services doing a lot of partnerships because we realize we can’t do all on our own,” Carter said. “So not only are we inviting people to come in and letting this building be open, but we’re also saying ‘Here, share in our programing so we can get your message out because your message has something to do with ours,’ and that’s the collective programming you’ll see that we do all over campus.”

DeStress Fest

One of the partnerships the Multicultural Center has taken apart in is the FroZEN-DeStress Fest.

“The DeStress Fest is put on by UND Wellness,” Coordinator for Multicultural Services Terri Eide said. “It will be at the Loading Dock in the Memorial Union on Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It was one of the first partnerships since I started this position.”

The event will showcase fun, stress-relieving activities including a chance to play with therapy dogs.

Fifteen teams of one dog and one handler will be available throughout the event. Each hour there will be different dogs, Eide said.

As a sociologist and dog owner, Eide found this to be a great way to help students distress.

“Just petting dogs, being around dogs, the literature has shown that helps you reduce stress,” she said. “It helps lower blood pressure, increases hormones positively and also diminishes hormones that affect our brain transmitters that are negative.”

Eide said other campuses have hosted events with therapy dogs, but this is the first at UND. While the event focuses on students, Eide is hoping to have faculty and staff stop by as well.

Eide hopes for a big turnout and wants students to know about other options at the Loading Dock.

“So if they don’t like dogs, they can come over and get a free massage,” Eide said. “If they like dogs, they can come hangout with the dogs, get a free massage and eat some ice cream.”

Paula Kaledzi is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].