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Center for Intercultural Engagement becomes an independent department

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Tribune stock photo.

Tribune stock photo.

The Center for Intercultural Engagement celebrated their transition to an independent department with an open house on Jan. 21 in the Alumni Memorial Union, marking the completion of recent renovations.

Eva Martinez Powless, director of intercultural engagement, discussed the mission and programming of the CIE, as well as specific renovations that occurred.

“Our goal is to support the overall adjustment to campus life, improve student retention and graduation rates and enhance the overall quality of the Marquette experience for culturally and racially diverse students,” Powless said. “We also support academic success and empower students to be leaders who can contribute to communities, to both their community and the overall Marquette community.”

Powless went on to mention that the mission, which was updated last fall, is aligned with the mission of both Marquette University and the Division of Student Affairs.

The center also offers different programs which ensure that students are getting the support they need to succeed here at Marquette.

Programs offered to students include leadership education and training, one-on-one mentoring and student advocacy programming. Powless highlights social justice education as the key aspect to the center.

The CIE also focuses on different forms of diversity around campus by celebrating all national, cultural and ethnic heritage months, including LGBTQ History month in October and Muslim and Jewish awareness, among others.

As for the renovations, Powless is happy to see the center upgrade from a hangout lounge to an office space. The recent changes help the center transition into their own department within student affairs.

“We wanted to ensure that the main focus of the renovations incorporate the overall Marquette mission and vision. So we wanted to ensure our students felt that they are a part of Marquette University,” Powless said.

One colorful addition to the new office is a mural that was designed and painted by Marquette students. The background of the mural is bright yellow with a blue and gold globe to represent Marquette. In the center of the mural is a face decorated with different skin tones and hair colors, including a feather to represent Native Americans.

Karina Sanchez, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences and the lead behind the mural, provided an in-depth meaning behind the creation.

“It was definitely a group effort. We didn’t just want it to be symbols. We wanted it to be all-inclusive,” Sanchez said. “We didn’t want to have specific features on the face so that it wasn’t guided toward a specific culture or race, so hopefully people will take that from this piece. That’s the main idea.”

With all the renovations, Powless hopes the CIE gains more representation on Marquette’s campus.

“We welcome all students. This is a safe space for everyone and it’s open to everyone—staff, faculty and students. We really would love support from other offices in ensuring that every student at Marquette is having a great experience,” Powless said.

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