According to the Voluntary System of Accountability, 19 percent of students at UVM identify as students of color.
The Mosaic Center for Students of Color, formerly the African, Latina, Asian and Native American Student Center, exists to provide support for these students and make them feel welcome on-campus.
MCSC began at UVM in 1973 as the Office of Multicultural Affairs, but the organization’s goals were not the same as they are today.
Originally, the office’s mission was to train University staff members to make campus more inclusive on an institutional level, instead of focusing on students of color in the community.
It was not until 1996 that the student-fixated ALANA Center that UVM is familiar with came about.
Today, MCSC provides a wide variety of programs and services, such as student advising, leadership retreats and a class.
Program administrators are involved institutionally as well, including director Beverly Colston.
“We want to make sure students have a path they can take and that they are supported within the administration,” Colston said.
The MCSC recently moved from their Redstone location to a new space in the Living and Learning Center E Building on Athletic campus..
The new center will include a kitchen —expected to be completed by the end of the semester—computer lab, meditation space and a study lounge. MCSC’S goal with these new expansions, as well as a more central location, is to become more accessible to a greater number of students.
The name change is not without significance either. Questions on what name would be appropriate for the center have been going on for decades, Colston said.
“There are many identities that ALANA does not include,” she said. “Language is limiting and we’re always looking for the right terms for what we represent.”
First-year Monique Martin said MCSC gives students of color a home away from home.
“At a predominantly white institution, it’s easy to experience culture shock,” she said. “[MCSC] makes it easier to adjust.”
Sophomore Haydee Miranda lives in the ALANA L/L community, and said it isn’t just for students of color.
“It offers a medium for any who live there to build competency and understanding of cultures,” she said.
With this new outlook, MCSC is hoping to serve different parts of the community better, notably bi- and multi-racial students.
Supporting and advocating for undocumented students and students with undocumented family members will also be a greater focus in the coming months.
When describing the vision for the MCSC, Colston smiled and said, “We want to do anything that can be imagined to help our students of color thrive.”