Days-Massolo Center

Phyllis A.H. Breland
Interim Director, Diversity & Inclusion

Days-Massolo Center: Reflections on the First Year

Amit Taneja, Director

The Days-Massolo Center was created to foster dialogue and understanding within and across differences. One year after the formal dedication of the space, the center is thriving with programs and services that enhance the academic mission of the campus while strengthening a community that respects and promotes free and open inquiry, independent thought and mutual understanding.

In addition to providing space for the Womyn’s Center and the newly established LGBTQ Resource Center, the Days-Massolo Center has sponsored or helped organize over ninety programs, lectures and workshops. These events include Cultural Cafés hosted by student groups, workshops on diversity and inclusion, art exhibits, and lectures on race, gender, religion and sexuality. The center’s programs have attracted more than 4,200 participants this year alone.

Amit Taneja, director of the Days-Massolo Center, credits collaboration as a key to the center’s success. “There is a strong desire on campus from students, faculty, staff and alumni to engage critically with these topics on an intellectual, academic and interpersonal level,” Taneja said. The center has actively collaborated with more than thirty campus departments and groups, and hopes to continue these partnerships in the future.

The center has also supported student organizations through informal advising, collaboration and dialogue. Jimmy Alexis ’13, president of the Black & Latino Student Union (BLSU), said “BLSU has always supported and appreciated the center’s dedication and ability to inspire unity among the multicultural clubs on campus. It is a legacy we look forward to continuing for years to come.”

For example, Taneja said the newly formed Student Diversity Council (SDC) allows leaders of the various multicultural student groups to meet on a regular basis to discuss events, collaborations and pressing concerns. Katherine Costa ’12, co-chair of the Womyn’s center, said “The Days-Massolo Center has been integral to the success of the Womyn’s Center this year, finally enabling us to have our own space on campus. I have appreciated the helpful yet respectful relationship between the DMC & the Womyn’s Center, whereby we support each other but recognize our autonomy.”

Taneja plans to move toward theme-based programming to allow for deeper engagement with topics through different cultural, intersectional and academic lenses. In the fall 2013 semester, the center will sponsor speakers around the theme of “(Im)migration,” and the following spring will be focused on “Prisons Beyond Prisons.” The emphasis of the future programming will help students appreciate the complexity of issues that are pertinent to society.

Specifically, in the fall, programs will feature speakers on the Dream Act, Arizona’s identification laws, women’s rights and faith practices in migrant communities, and U.S. refugee policies for LGBT asylum-seekers. Taneja said he is encouraging faculty members to partner with the center by including these lectures in their syllabi and suggesting other themes and speakers. “My objective,” he said, “is always to supplement the academic mission of the college, so that learning doesn’t only happen inside the classroom, but instead builds on what we do in our formal curriculum.”

For more information, contact Amit Taneja at ataneja@hamilton.edu.