Along Gamble Street past Dewey Street, lies a brick house, the home of the Center for Equity and Cultural Development. Its mission, according to their pamphlet, is “to expand and maintain a state of the art center that will facilitate and foster diversity, community empowerment and scholarly research.”
The center was established in 1992 to address “the lack of women’s issues and minority issues being brought forth to the public,” according to Gloria Taylor, coordinator of the center.
Students feel that the center plays a significant role for students.
“The center is needed in order to create awareness within the student body,” said Shervon Coleman, 20, a junior English student from Chicago. “It gives people who are underrepresented a voice and ability to come together.”
Yolanda Boronell, the new director for the Center for Equity and Cultural Development, says she wants to enlighten “the university and community about the contributions, achievements, concerns and professional aspirations of women and other underrepresented groups.”
Reach Out Day is one of the programs that the center provides to achieve these goals.
This program gives girls ages 11 to 14 a chance to tour the university for a day and exposes them to non-traditional fields in math and science.
The program features classes and lectures to inform the girls of the opportunities in math and science and encourages them to pursue occupations in those fields.
The center also will host activities every week during Women’s History Month in March. The activities include symposiums, lectures and social activities led by women speakers.
The center seeks other ways to inform the campus about its purpose and role on campus.
A semi-annual newsletter will be issued, published in August and January, which will include a schedule for that semester’s activities. Boronell also wants to restore the now defunct Commission on Status of Women.
The commission, which has not been in existence for four or five years, will be made up of strong women campus and community leaders.
The commission’s focus is the status of women and will deal with health, and fairness in the work force as it relates to women.
“The group also seeks to study the progress as far as equity issues are concerned, as far as are men receiving higher pay for the same job,” Boronell said.
The center also houses a resource library with books and tapes on women’s issues.
“We want students to use the center for papers or assignments. We’re expanding our library to include all cultures on campus,” Boronell said.
A survey will be made, geared toward students, in order to find out which activities they are interested in and to bring them to fruition.
Boronell said that she would like for the campus to get more involved in the program and that she would like to work with the student council, clubs, fraternities and sororities in an effort to “embrace all cultures which are considered minorities, to make them feel as part of the FAMU family.”