Dedicated support for diverse students

By Berkshire Community College

A Massachusetts college invests in a new space for underserved students

As part of a campus-wide commitment to support historically minoritized and marginalized students, Berkshire Community College (BCC) recently created the Multicultural Affairs, Diversity and Engagement (MADE) Center.

Funded by a SUCCESS (Supporting Urgent Community College Equity through Student Services) grant through the college, the MADE Center will offer academic and social support services for all students, but with a special focus on supporting traditionally underserved populations.

“With increasing diversity in higher education, it is more important than ever to have concentrated efforts on college campuses dedicated to supporting diverse students, faculty and staff,” said George Ambriz, BCC assistant dean of student affairs and director of SUCCESS.

Research shows that students have higher retention and completion rates when academic and social support systems are in place, Ambriz said.

The MADE Center will feature meeting areas, computers available for student use and a resource library. Three staff members have been hired to support the center.

In connection with community and campus partners, the MADE Center will provide:

  • Programmatic support for academic, personal, professional and social growth
  • Educational opportunities designed to help understand systems of oppression and ways of dismantling that oppression in order to create a more just society
  • Physical space for affinity groups to meet
  • Connections with SUCCESS coaches and other campus partners/resources
  • Resources to promote social justice, anti-racism and equity for all
  • Workshops and programs addressing academic success for underserved students
  • A physical space for students to bring their whole selves

The MADE Center also will have a virtual component. Events will be recorded and shared online, allowing students to access information from anywhere with an internet connection.

“The MADE Center is an exciting next step towards BCC’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. It is designed with a focused, student-centered approach to community building,” said Dean of Students Celia Norcross. “As we look for ways of embracing identities to shape our student stories into a legacy and culture of learning more about ourselves and others, the MADE Center will have an important role in our future growth.”

This article was originally posted here.

Berkshire Community College

is located in Pittsfield, Massachusetts