Editor’s note: This was written for class credit in an MC200 course through the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Located on the fourth floor of Hale Library, the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies, has been a part of the Kansas State Library for more than 40 years and it still continues to help inside the K-State community.
The Dow Chemical Company has sponsored The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies since 2001. It has been a resource facility for K-State students, staff and members of the community.
The purpose of The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies is to ensure that students, faculty and community members are free to express themselves and their culture.
“If offers a gathering place for students, either formally or informally, as well as a quiet place to study and use the resources of the center,” Lori Goetsch, dean of K-State Libraries, said. “It [also can] provide financial support to student groups interested in multicultural programing.”
The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies reopened in Sept. 2012. The staff said the driving reason for the move, was to give a more suitable place for students.
“We want a space where people are comfortable sharing ideas, exchanging information and using our resources to broaden their academic experience,” Roberta Johnson, senior director of administration and IT services for K-State libraries, said.
The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies just finished up the event Empathy Week, held in September. Empathy Week had demonstrations and speakers that sent very direct messages about the worldwide sexual trafficking epidemic. A part of Empathy Week was the Mattress Vigil. During this numerous mattresses positioned in high traffic areas all around campus, symbolizing the victims of sexual trafficking, some who were as young as 12 years old.
Last year The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies brought in some guest speakers to talk about mutual respect and equality.
“My hope is that, though, I know students are very busy during their time here at K-State, they are at such a unique time in their lives,” Darchelle Martin, K-State Libraries events and programs coordinator, said. “They have opportunities at their fingertips to attend quality programming that educates them from so many perspectives.”
The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies has supported a number of projects at K-State including helping with improvements such as restorations of murals or academic environments, both critical to K-State.
A link is provided on their website for organizations to apply for funding. When the applications are submitted they are reviewed by Goetsch, who also ultimately decides who gets funding. In the past, groups like the Black Student Union, Movies on the Grass and the Kappa Pi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority have all received financial support.
If you were to visit The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies, you will find its facilities include several large studying tables, cable TV and a new mural.
The Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies facility also features the new “We Have a Dream” mural, which is a reproduction of the original, with the modern detail of small transparent photographs of actual K-State students making up the foreground.
Johnson recalls watching the BBC’s coverage of the Obama inauguration inside the Dow Center and getting an outside look at things important to the United States, but from the perspective of another culture.
“How you choose to learn is up to you. You can learn it traditionally or non-traditionally,” Johnson said.