Recently, the presence of the Marshall Center, an academic center on campus under the Provost Office, has been growing steadily. The team consists of Director of the Marshall Center of Intercultural Learning Dean Raquel Ramos, Assistant Director of Intercultural Programming Tai Feaster and Administrative Assistant Ana Foote.
Although the Marshall Center has been consistently active by hosting popular events such as the recent Dear World, which saw a large turnout, the specific role it plays has been ambiguous. Ramos agrees that increasing presence on campus and awareness as a campus resource is one of the challenges faced by the center.
The purpose of the Marshall Center is to provide support to Wheaton students by working closely with other departments on campus. “We provide academic, social and cultural programming for students, for the whole campus. There is something for everyone,” said Ramos.
In addition, the center advises student clubs. Ramos added, “[We] help people make their vision for a program or plan for their club come to fruition.”
As an academic center, the Marshall Center aims to be curricularly connected. “We try to do curricularly-connected programming, so it’s not as if we are doing something apart and not contributing to the students’ educational experience here,” said Ramos.
However, the Marshall Center also focuses on intercultural identity and development on campus. It hosts many events, including read-ins for each Heritage Month, Intercultural Pre-Orientation and Intergroup Dialogue. These events are meant to create awareness and offer opportunities to talk about difficult topics in an open and respectful way. “We are part of the international global sphere,” said Ramos.
The Intergroup Dialogue is a popular initiative of the Marshall Center. According to Ramos, the purpose of these dialogues is to “dive deeper into issues of power and privilege and how you can dialogue across difference in a constructive way.” She added that such dialogues are focused on relevant issues currently taking place in society or based on what is happening in classes.
Ramos stated that the resources offered by the Marshall Center try to holistically prepare students for life after college: “Students [must] be ready to read and learn in a complex and global world, and if you hadn’t had the chance or taken the opportunity to talk with people from different cultures, to get to learn about other people’s experiences, then you are going to be missing out.”