Construction on a new free-standing multicultural center at Michigan State University (MSU) is set to begin this spring, following decades of demand from students.

Plans for the MSU Multicultural Center, a 34,000-square-foot building, include a living room, community kitchen, office space for student organizations, and other resources and amenities. 

The center will also be home to two unique features — the Dreamer Center and an outdoor amphitheater. The Dreamer Center will be dedicated to assisting undocumented students in achieving academic and professional success, despite the challenges they may encounter due to their immigration status.

The outdoor amphitheater will accommodate music, dance, and theater performances. Additionally, there will be an Indigenous-inspired ceremonial fire pit for use by all groups.

The creation of a new and comprehensive space has been years in the making. Since the civil rights era, MSU students have called for a free-standing multicultural center to help increase representation on campus. 

In 1999, the first multicultural center at MSU opened, but student leaders soon advocated for more space. When university officials agreed to move the center to a larger facility in 2013, however, students pushed further for a stand-alone building.

Plans for the new center were set in motion in 2019 when the leaders of multicultural student groups banded together to submit a petition. The building was officially approved in 2021.

“The free-standing center will be a tribute to decades-long activism by students and campus stakeholders at MSU,” said Jabbar R. Bennett, PhD, vice president and chief diversity officer, in a university news release.

Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2024.

This article was published in our May 2023 issue.