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Step inside DePaul's Black Cultural Center

Two men chat in DePaul's Black Cultural Center
Cory Barnes, right, chats with a student in DePaul's Black Cultural Center. (DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)

[Editor’s Note: Newsline asked the coordinators of DePaul’s four cultural resource centers to introduce their programs to the university through a question-and-answer exchange. The first of these articles looks at the Black Cultural Center, and others in this series will appear soon in Newsline. The questions are Newsline’s; the answers are those of the coordinator, Cory Barnes.]

How would you describe the role that the Black Cultural Center plays in the life of the university?

Falling under the auspices of the Office of Multicultural Student Success and within the Division of Student Affairs, the Black Cultural Center directly serves mission students and those at the margins. Even more specifically, it serves as a hub for Black-identifying students to find belongingness and the resources they need to thrive at the university.

What are some of the unique opportunities available to students, faculty and staff only through the Cultural Center?

The Black Cultural Center's multiuse properties make it unique. There are lounges throughout campus; there are galleries, libraries, and spaces to learn about Black culture and tradition. The BCC offers all these and provides a space for students, faculty, and staff.

What role does the Cultural Center play in expanding the education that DePaul provides?

Co-curricular engagement is critical to the student experience, and learning occurs not only in the classroom but also outside of it. Our programming, which focuses on identity-centered engagement, allows participants to learn about their own identities and those of others.

What types of social programs do you offer at the Cultural Center for community members?

The Black Cultural Center offers a vast array of programming centered around identity, holistic wellness, and belonging. One of our premier programs is Welcome Black DePaul, where students, faculty, and staff come together to break bread and be in the community. It's a great opportunity for new students to get acclimated with support networks on campus as the kick-off is the beginning of the year.

How has the Cultural Center gone about developing a distinctive learning community within the broader university?

The Black Cultural Center has done so through strategic partnerships with academic offices such as the Department of African and Black Diaspora, which also houses the Center for Black Diaspora. From our partnership with the Division of Mission and Ministry and the Division of Student Affairs has come the Sankofa Black Student Formation program. Strategic partnerships like these allow us to cast a wide net and share resources across our various communities.

For another glimpse inside the Black Cultural Center, check out this video, which was produced this winter.

Cory Barnes is coordinator of the Black Cultural Center in the Office of Multicultural Student Success.