UNT’s Multicultural Center celebrates 20th anniversary on Tuesday

UNT’s Multicultural Center celebrates 20th anniversary on Tuesday

UNT’s Multicultural Center celebrates 20th anniversary on Tuesday
February 28
00:10 2014

Ashley Salazar / Intern Writer

UNT’s Multicultural Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary with free food, music, electronic prize giveaways and a special guest speaker.

The celebration will take place at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in STUB 122 and will be followed by an inspirational speech in room 180 of the Business Leadership Building from Elliotte Dunlap, a UNT alum and the Multicultural Center’s founder.

“Back in 1994, students of color felt they didn’t have a place of their own,” director of multicultural programming Uyen Tran-Parsons said.  “A few students, including some members of the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, which Mr. Dunlap belongs to, started to petition for such a center.”

“From the Corner Street to Wall Street” is Dunlap’s story of where he came from and how his circumstances could have prevented him from being successful, but didn’t.

When Dunlap first developed the plans for the Multicultural Center, it was only about 750 to 1000 square feet in an old closet on the fourth floor of the Union.

“I had to move chairs and tables out of the room and do some work,” Dunlap said.

UNT minority students wanted more faculty and staff of color, so they demanded the attention of the administration. Dunlap made sure there was media attention, as well as events such as marches and radio broadcasts surrounding the issue.

The center is a result of the students’ demands and Dunlap’s accomplishments.

“His drive and determination allowed him to create his own destiny,” Tran-Parsons said.  “He will give his suggested keys to success including the role of activism.”

The Multicultural Center has since grown to six full-time staff members and welcomes thousands of students.

“I’m really motivated by success of next generation,” Dunlap said.

Dunlap now works as a partner solution sales executive for Microsoft and will be doing surprise “tech giveaways,” with prizes to be announced after his speech at 7 p.m.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to the university that I graduated from. I want to get reacquainted with university, and meet with those who work in the center and attend UNT now,” Dunlap said.  “The next step is to teach others about culture and how to have cultural knowledge rather than being biased. I want people to understand what other people come from.”

Several alumni will attend the events, including those who participated in the protests and marches.

“I expect [the event] to be a great opportunity for the UNT community to learn and celebrate the different services and programs we offer at the Multicultural Center,” said Aldo Alfaro, senior diversity trainer for the Multicultural Center. “It will be a time to look back at the history of the Multicultural Center and honor those individuals who have given so much over the years to help the Multicultural Center grow and expand.”

Originally, the Multicultural Center focused only on education about race and ethnicity, but in the past 20 years has since expanded to various topics such as gender, sexual orientation, interfaith and abilities.

“I would like the center to continue to grow, continue to be diverse and help people,” Dunlap said.  “It went from being only minorities to a lifestyle and went from an education center to a growth center.”

Everyone is invited to attend the anniversary celebration and is also welcome into the office on a weekly basis.

“There is still a misconception that the Multicultural Center is only for minority students, and this is simply not the case,” Tran-Parsons said.  “We all play a role in advancing the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

Feature photo: The Multicultural Center in the old student Union. Photo courtesy of UNT. 

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