University of Washington students, faculty, staff, and alumni came together to break ground on the new Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity’s Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC) on Wednesday, Oct. 12.
Representatives from the student legacy groups involved in the founding of the original ECC in 1972 participated in the ceremonial “dig.” Those groups included the Black Student Union (BSU), M.E.Ch.A. (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan), First Nations, Filipino American Student Association (FASA), and Pacific Islander Student Commission (PISC). The OMA&D Vice President’s Student Advisory Board (chair Dalia Amin), ASUW (President Conor McLean and Director of Diversity Efforts Jonathan Winn), and the Graduate Professional Student Senate were also represented.
UW President Michael K. Young and his wife, Marti, joined the festivities following his first town-hall address to the university community that afternoon. Students and staff, alike, were thrilled to take photos and visit with the President to commemorate the special occasion.
The ceremony took place at the ECC construction site located at the corner of Brooklyn Ave and NE 40th Street. Sheila Edwards Lange, Vice President for Minority Affairs and Vice Provost for Diversity, offered remarks and spoke about the building’s history.
In addition to Dr. Edwards Lange, joining the student leaders in the ceremony were OMA&D Associate Vice President Gabriel Gallardo, ECC Interim Director Maggie Fonseca and the project architects, Sam Cameron, ’75, and Alex Rolluda, ’89. Both Rolluda and Cameron utilized the ECC while students at the UW. Representatives from Andersen Construction were also on hand.
Following the spirited ceremony, students reconvened in Condon Hall for a reception.
The ECC currently serves approximately 70 student groups and has been a “home away from home” for students of color since its inception. The extensive renovation process included the extraction of the historic murals from the old building on August 19. The murals were transferred to a facility where they will be stored under archival conditions until their installation in the new ECC. The old building was completely demolished and as construction on the new building begins, it will expand the former ECC from 10,000 square feet to three-stories and over 25,000 square feet.
Construction is anticipated to last 14 months. During the renovation, the ECC offices are currently housed on the seventh floor of Condon Hall.
Photos by Ian Gonzales