“For a long time, students of color have been lacking a space on campus where they feel a true sense of belonging,” said senior Jennifer Munnings. “This space validates the experiences of students of color at Richmond.”

Senior Unitha Cherry agreed, highlighting the importance of having a defined place where students of color are able to foster and develop a stronger sense of community.

Students, staff members and faculty members attended an open house to celebrate the grand opening of the new Multicultural Space -- called “The Space” -- on Sunday, excited to catch a glimpse of the future of diversity, inclusion and equity at the University of Richmond.

The Space is located next to Dean’s Den on the first floor of Whitehurst.

“At the heart of this project is a sincere desire to contribute to a more positive experience for students of color at the University of Richmond, and to contribute to Richmond’s shared vision for a thriving, inclusive intercultural community,” according to the Multicultural Space’s mission statement.

A student-run executive council and a faculty advisory team were established last semester to oversee the creation of UR’s first multicultural space. Sophomore Anthony Lawrence was selected as chair of the executive council.

“The goal was really to create an outlet for multicultural students and students of color to discuss ideas and interact in a place where they feel comfortable and accepted,” Lawrence said. “It’s also a great place for students to come and study, and for different student groups to host events.”

Lawrence expressed gratitude to his fellow executive council members, as well as the faculty advisory team, who worked hard to set this project in motion.

Akhila Vishnubhotla, assistant director of living-learning and Roadmap programs, was one of the five faculty members selected to serve on the advisory team. 

“This pilot space allows us to further understand the ways in which we can support the needs of students of color on campus," Vishnubhotla said. "It is a student-driven space, and is a tangible result of student activism that aimed to make UR more welcoming and inclusive, particularly for students of color."

Many students in attendance at the open house expressed excitement to see the long-anticipated opening of the space become a reality.

Although the pilot space is designed for multicultural students, it is open to all students. The Space will be open Sunday to Thursday from 3-10 p.m., and Fridays from 12-6 p.m.  

The Multicultural Space's Instagram handle is @urmulticspace.

Contact sports editor C.J. Slavin at cj.slavin@richmond.edu.