The Intercultural Center (ICC) opened its doors in 2014. The idea for the ICC was established by a group of students who aspired to develop a legacy on campus. Their vision was rooted in a deep respect for each other, social justice work, and the richness and potential of cultural and intellectual diversity at UM-Flint. These students have graduated but their legacy remains through the ICC.
The work of the ICC is grounded in pragmatic imperatives: to spare no effort in making sure that every UM-Flint student feels like they belong on campus and to create informal educational spaces outside of the classroom that promote cross-cultural communication, comfort with ambiguity, and learning.
In 2015, the first goal of the work of the ICC will be to bring a racially and ethnically diverse group of students together to share information and experiences and to cultivate relationships that are rooted in a sense of solidarity in education, respect for history, and understanding of the power and potential of diversity. Our hope is that the work of the ICC will nurture bonds between students, that will not only optimize engagement in the academic rigor of coursework, but provide the critical personal and social support and skill sets that are necessary for student achievement in college and through the alumni years as they work in a profoundly diverse world. We will achieve this goal by providing a space in the ICC for students to gather as well as event and programming opportunities that honor national Hispanic, Native American, African American, Arab American and Asian American History Months as well as the observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The second focus of the work this year is to collect data from students, faculty and staff that will allow us to identifying short, medium and long term goals for the provision of services, programs, advocacy and other offerings in the ICC.
In the 21st century, university students across the US and at UM-Flint are likely to be increasingly diverse and multiracial/multicultural (ethnicity, race, sexual, gender and national identity, religion, language, culture, age, etc), increasingly socially engaged and aware, and increasingly technology and information sharing oriented. In less than 30 years, the majority of the US population will be racial "minorities" and in less than 25 years, the majority of workers in the US will be racial "minorities." Experience working in diverse contexts will be a top 5 work related experience that employers are looking for in the next 5 years. Finally, in the 21st century, projections indicate that margins of inequality could increase across race, class and gender... unless the next generation is committed and prepared to change these projections. In the spirit of the students who founded the ICC and the staff and administration that worked to establish it, we intend to fully commit ourselves to making sure that our students are fully prepared and believe they can change these projections.