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New 1973 Center to Further Diversity & Inclusion Resources on Texas A&M-Galveston Campus    

November 18, 2020


(From left) Col. Mike Fossum, Assistant Director of Student Diversity Initiatives Danny Roe and Diversity Education Specialist Marcos Villareal tour the new 1973 Center inside Hullabaloo Hall.

By Andréa Bolt, Communications Specialist, Division of Marketing & Communications

“There is a place for you here,” reads a black-and-white art piece on the wall. “¡Si se puede!” exclaims another hanging alongside a brown, black and rainbow-striped LGBTQ+ pride flag. Texas A&M University at Galveston’s new 1973 Center is on a mission to do just that — ensure underrepresented students have a safe, supportive space on our campus.
 
Named after the historic year that female and African American students were allowed admittance to the university, the center hopes to continue the trend of giving underrepresented students from culturally-marginalized groups the space and opportunities to thrive as Aggies by the Sea.
 
The center is located just inside Hullabaloo Hall and also houses the offices for the Office of Student Diversity Initiatives, who also operate the center, ensuring staff are accessible to their student populations. The lounge space described above is outfitted with comfortable seating spaces, a diverse collection of books and media, and plenty of room for both building community and brushing up on notes from today’s classes. Also included is a group study room, conference meeting area, and even a kitchen.
 
The library offerings are a particular point of pride for Diversity Education Specialist Marcos Villareal.
 
“In addition to the all-gender restrooms throughout our center and the fully-functioning kitchen that can be utilized by all students through reservation, our lounge offers a fantastic diversity library where students can read literature on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) authors as well as LGBTQ+ authors,” he explains.
 
Just beyond the community kitchen area is a currently-empty office that, like the center itself, represents possibilities. Dr. Carol Bunch Davis envisions this office as the home for a Civic Literacy, Inclusion, Diversity & Equity Committee (CLIDE) faculty fellow in the upcoming spring semester.
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(From left) Marcos Villareal, Dr. Carol Bunch Davis, Danny Roe and Col. Mike Fossum tour the new 1973 Center inside Hullabaloo Hall. 

 
As Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of English, as well as CLIDE’s Committee Chair, Davis is thrilled about the opportunity to more deeply engage faculty in Texas A&M-Galveston’s inclusion, diversity, equity and accountability work.
 
“Research shows that informal student and faculty interaction increases retention and enhances overall student success,” Davis explained. “The CLIDE/1973 Center Faculty Fellow Program’s deliberate activities, from the fellow’s office hours in the space to fellow-led discussions facilitates those interactions. This important work not only builds relationships between students and faculty, but also serves the campus’ goals to improve campus climate, or the concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential.”
 
Like many on-campus ideas, the center was inspired by students, and actually something they have specifically requested.  The idea was further supported by campus faculty and administration.
 
In the wake of George Floyd’s death earlier this year, Texas A&M-Galveston hosted the first of many future racial justice and campus climate forums. As a result of the discussions had via these events, even more push came for the center to become a reality.
 
“Our main motivation for the center came from conversations we had with students. They repeatedly had mentioned other college campuses with large multicultural centers where students can express themselves and see themselves be represented on campus and they knew we could do that here,” Villareal reported. “The Student Activities office was so cramped that not every student could hang out all at once if they wanted to. With the birth of the 1973 Center, specifically the lounge, they feel like they belong on campus, because there is a space that shows support and solidarity for these students while giving them the comfort of being in a space they know they are accepted in.”
 
Villareal says the center is already “building bridges and closing gaps” due to its fortuitous and open-access location.
 
“Students can actually look into the lounge from the outside, and those walking by or using the Hullabaloo lobby area have become more curious and we have actually increased the diversity of students utilizing our lounge!” Villareal exclaimed.
 
Each space within the center has a specific tie back to the overall mission to enhance and support Texas A&M-Galveston’s efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion.
 
“The center is for everyone, emphasis on everyone,” states Villareal. “We want students to be able to enter these spaces and learn about different cultures and interact with different students.”
 
All 1973 Center spaces are open and accessible when Villareal or Assistant Director of Student Diversity Initiatives Danny Roe ‘13 are present in the office. The spaces are available for student use after hours by reservations through the Student Diversity Center Staff.

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Media contact:
Andréa Bolt
Communications Specialist
a_bolt@tamug.edu



Texas A&M University at Galveston is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in a unique blend of marine and maritime programs, including majors in science, business, engineering, liberal arts, and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M’s sea-grant portion of Texas A&M’s rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.
 
Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of seven in the U.S. and the only academy integrated into a Tier 1 academic institution, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world. Texas A&M-Galveston is ideally located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where is it surrounded by the industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.

If you are interested in supporting this endeavor or research, please contact the Texas A&M University at Galveston Office of Development by email at GiveToSeaAggies@txamfoundation.com or by calling (409) 740-4481.