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Multicultural Center Opens Doors to All at Ramapo College of New Jersey

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)February 23, 2023

(left to right): Jonelyn Planillo-Pachay '09, Nicole Morgan Agard, Eileen Ramos '11, Stephan Lally '20, Consul General of Nepal Bishnu Prasad Gautam, Tamika Quick '03, RCNJ President Cindy Jebb, and Rachel Sawyer-Walker

Ramapo College of New Jersey opened the doors to the highly anticipated Multicultural Center on campus, which drew a standing room only crowd. A place of belonging, the Multicultural Center was created with the goal of supporting the College’s traditionally underrepresented students from all cultural backgrounds, and to promote productive, intercultural discourse among all students, faculty and staff at Ramapo. “I am excited about the role the Multicultural Center will play to foster a diverse, empathetic, and vibrant community that inspires a culture of inclusivity, accountability, and collaboration,” said Nicole Morgan Agard, Esq., Chief Equity & Diversity Officer/Vice President for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Compliance.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the culmination of the project, at which Ramapo College President Cindy Jebb expressed how “the Multicultural Center provides an inclusive and welcoming space that will host programs and workshops designed to help foster constructive intercultural dialogue–dialogue that encourages understanding, empathy, and solidarity.” Consul General Bishnu Prasad Gautam of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal, attended the event and reflected on how the Ramapo College community mobilized relief funds to support victims of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and again during the Covid-19 pandemic. “Cultural and community identity are very important aspects in our personal development. I think the College has internalized this in opening the Center, and it will give one more reason for students to choose this college.”

Additional invited guest speakers who shared remarks about the significance of the opening included alumni Tamika Quick ‘03, executive director of the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Kean University; Jonelyn Planillo-Pachay ‘09, co-founder of both the Pilipino American Unity for Progress (UniPro) and the Professional Filipino American Youth (PFAY), and service sales representative at Schindler Elevator; Eileen Ramos ‘11, event coordinator for the Asian American Literary Review; and Stephan Lally ‘20, advisor to the speaker and director of appointments at the New Jersey Assembly Democratic Office.

The pandemic halted the work of the center’s fruition, which began in December 2019 with the formation of the Multicultural Center Exploratory Committee, composed of students, faculty and students and established through the Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance (EDIC). The Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge (OMIC) grant awarded by the State of New Jersey helped fund the project, which resumed in Spring 2021.

The Multicultural Center supports one of the goals of the College’s strategic plan, Boldly Ascending, approved by the Ramapo College Board of Trustees in January 2023. Ramapo’s Annual Diversity Convocation will be held in March, and plans are underway through EDIC to host diversity-related programs and workshops in the Multicultural Center for all students.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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