David Tracey/Nubian Message
Yesenia Jones | Staff Writer
This academic year, the African American Cultural Center debuted a newly renovated space designed to create a more inviting and communal area.
“We have demolished three walls, brand new carpeting, brand new paint and now we have more of an open floor plan,” said Moses T. Alexander Greene the director of the AACC. “And the wall between two offices now gave us a conference room”.
The AACC, has not had major renovations of this sort since its original implementation in 1991. Before the renovations, the original carpeting from 1991 was still in place and a wall in the front room created a physical barrier that prevented interaction between staff and students.
The new renovations have allowed the staff and students to take full advantage of the space by optimizing the number of events and organizations that can be comfortably hosted in the center. During the first events of the year, both the staff of the center and attendees noticed a huge difference in the space.
“This past Thursday we had a mixer for black faculty and graduate students,” said AACC Assistant Director Sachelle Ford. “Being able to have the open space was tremendously beneficial in allowing us to really feel like the community could come together in this space, whereas before it would have been really difficult. I think we had about 70 people come.”
Ford continued, “Before, when you had a wall here and a wall here and a hallway there, you couldn’t do that. You couldn’t have people congregated in this space. That’s really kind of a big deal for us that we can host. People come in and they say it’s so much more inviting and engaging, I’m happy to be here, the vibes are good”.
Along with larger events, the center can now accommodate for small group collaboration in their new conference room.
“Students can come in and if they have a group project that they are working on for class, that’s a great place for that,” said Ford.
The conference room will be available on a first come first serve basis, unless it is already reserved by a group. Eventually, the reservation process will be available to students and organizations through an online process. The room can accommodate a group of six and has a large whiteboard for organizations and students to use as needed.
The larger conference room listed as room 356 inside the AACC also received a new look. A newly added painting of the first black undergraduate students now graces the walls to inspire current students and create a more of a motivational setting.
In the future, the AACC staff hopes to utilize their new space as well other spaces in Witherspoon Student Center for even more events. The next AACC event is Harambee! The event will welcome new students as well as set an uplifting tone for the new academic year in a safe space for African-American students.