You are personally invited to come quarantine in “the family room” on campus.

Mount St. Joseph News

You are personally invited to come quarantine in “the family room” on campus. Our family is still growing thanks to the approval and encouragement of Dean Janet Cox and Dr. H. J. Williams. This is an exciting new addition to the Mount family.

We are pleased to announce the birth of the MOSAIC Cross Cultural & Inclusion Center. It’s cozy and comfortable and vibrant with culture and world views. On March 19 Mount St. Joseph University will unveil its commitment to further promoting diversity and inclusion. Students, staff, investors, and alum are eagerly awaiting the place on campus outside of the classroom that is going to give opportunities to make the world a better place.

If you desire a new way to socialize, then the MOSAIC Center will be the place for you to be authentic and have some much-needed fun. The center, nicknamed “the family room,” will be a place to lounge, laugh, and let yourself be free without judgement. There will be a television and a special place to eat meals and watch movies. This new addition is going to be a place to be together.

Sister Karen Elliott, the Mount’s Director of Mission Integration, has collaborated with Rayshawn L. Eastman, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, to ensure that the MOSAIC Center will give new chances for exploring possibilities to make meaningful change.

Elliott gave the reminder that “culture is much bigger than just black and white.” The events that were sparked after the death of George Floyd proved that the world is ready to have those crucial conversations even if they feel slightly uncomfortable. The MOSAIC Center will serve as the destination point and safe space for the Mount St. Joseph community to make new connections and embrace new perspectives.

Similar to what we see around the globe, the Mount is represented through its staff, students, faculty, alumni, and investors who self-identify as Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, and atheist while still supporting the ongoing mission of our Catholic institution. Our world has rich diversity and MSJ is positioned to compete on a global scale. Are you ready to ignite a new passion? Are you ready to launch into new opportunities?

If so, join in the celebration on March 19, as three of our own student artists will be recognized for their artwork which highlights the importance of honoring one’s heritage. Those students are Karlee Banfield, Carissa Palazzolo, and Jacob Peters. They will be the first to have their artwork displayed at the MOSAIC Cross Cultural & Inclusion Center. They will be joined with representatives from Black Student Union, Latin X, Rainbow Alliance, and members of our President’s Cabinet to welcome the broad representation.

Consider that the MSJ community has had a presence in places as far away as Canada, Europe, South Africa, and Trinidad. Therefore, the university is thrilled to appropriately uphold its name after the patron St. Joseph who was a Jewish man from the Middle East, according to Elliott. The MOSAIC Center is a declaration that the Mount continually aims to be inspiring and inclusive.  The values at MSJ and the University’s common core propose that we are stronger together. Now that our differences and diversity will connect us, we will stand united with the Heart of a Lion.

Perhaps you don’t have much exposure to other cultures, but don’t undervalue your own experiences. Elliott points out that “not every white person has the same culture as other white people.” Come on out, and join the community in the Harrington Center. Take risks on experiencing “some really cool things,” says Eastman. He recognizes that it is often intimidating to engage with others. People see similarities and think “safe,” but it is dangerous to be the person who assumes they know anything about anyone. Open your world up to this fresh opportunity to openly communicate with people ready to share stories about themselves with you.

Plus, there are already conversations about bringing an alumni author who shares their ideas about the uniqueness of their culture. If you have a special way of showcasing your culture or heritage, reach out to Elliott or Eastman. They have established a MOSAIC Council that is responsible for providing educational programming for the center. Perhaps you can be the next person selected to display their creativity with things such as dances, recipes, or jewelry that have creative ways of connecting with your heritage.

The MOSAIC Center may serve as the new homecoming alumni reception area. Imagine all of the fun, entertainment, and good food. Please share any suggestions you may have for this new space. Come to the center and engage in the programming. Look for emails coming so that you can be a part of all of the upcoming festivities. More than anything, tell your friends about the MSJ MOSAIC Cross Cultural & Inclusion Center. It will be an amazing place to socialize.

Special thanks to Elliott and Eastman for sharing their enthusiasm about the project. They thought it to be so important to name the center MOSAIC because “the picture is incomplete without every graduate, student, staff member, or investor represented,” says Elliott. She says that this center will represent a “picture that is made from many parts. Individually the parts do not have meaning until connected together.” 

The MOSAIC Cross Cultural & Inclusion Center will become the legacy of MSJ for all of the different faces represented in the MOSAIC. Eastman concluded that the center is “inclusive by design” and that everyone “should engage with the center at least once.”

His passion is vibrant as he smiles and says, “I promise you won’t be disappointed.” Are you ready to have some extraordinary fun in “the family room” on campus?