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Out with the old, in with the new 

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Multicultural Center takes the place of old women’s studies department

This fall the women’s studies department made the big move from Houssels House to the fourth floor of the Carol C. Harter Classroom Building Complex, building B, leaving UNLV’s multicultural program to fill the void at the historic campus location.

The idea for moving the Multicultural Center to Houssels House came about in 2007, when President David B. Ashley became aware of the need for a new location, said Christine Clark, vice president of diversity and inclusion.

“Nancy Houssels and her family, for whom the building is named, were consulted about the idea of converting the space from the women’s studies department into a Multicultural Center and were very supportive,” Clark said.

The Houssels House had a makeover to better accommodate the multicultural center, including new xeriscape outside, laminate flooring for easy cleaning, walls painted bright colors, new windows and a new roof to make the house more energy efficient, among other things, Clark said.

Clark added that student response to the new location has been very positive, as the thought of the close proximity to the dorms and parking were appealing.

“Initially, we were concerned that it was too far from the Student Union to be appealing to students,” she said.  “Since that time, students have expressed liking the idea of being in an actual “house” and also the proximity of the space to the dorms and parking.”

Dr. S. Charusheela, chair of the Women’s Studies Department, said she knew for a long time that the move needed to be made.  

“It was part of the general move of the university that was created by the opening up of the Greenspun building,” Charusheela said, adding that the offices in the CBC assigned to urban affairs were moved to the GUA, freeing up those offices for women’s studies.  “We’re really glad to be much more centrally located and we like that we are in closer contact with the college of liberal arts.”

However, Charusheela did say that the Women’s Studies Department has been in Houssels House for a long time and that the charm of the house made it possible to make the space available for student groups.

Despite the convenience for student groups at Houssels House, Charusheela said that they have designated one room in the CBC for an undergraduate research study area and the shared offices by the graduate student instructors are perfect for communication purposes.  

The Multicultural Center is nearly complete and Clark said everyone is welcome at the new location.

“We want all students and all UNLV student groups to feel welcome in the center,” she said.  “It is also important to note that the center will be the first of its kind dedicated to serving the unique needs of all UNLV students on the basis of their varied cultural affinity group memberships.”

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