That’s a Vibe

MRC celebrates 25 years of multicultural engagement.

By Varik Harris ’19 | September 18, 2018

There was a jubilant vibe on the Quad last Friday. A DJ mixed “Mooo!” by Doja Cat with other up-and-coming hip-hop artists. Local musicians Chanti Darling and Maarquii got ready for their own sets and mingle with some students in the Reed Sound Kollective. The smell of BBQ floated through the air as students played cornhole and a giant game of jenga big enough to engulf any dogs or small children that ventured near. All of this in celebration of the 25th birthday of the Multicultural Resource Center, affectionately known as the MRC, which took place on September 7.

Twenty-five years represents a lot of change for a college, especially at a place that is known to generally be at the forefront of discussions on progressive secondary school options. Back in 1993, when the MRC was founded, Reed had only 17 students who identified as African American and 51 who identified as Hispanic. Today, with its constant push toward an ever more diverse campus environment, the college has a student body that is 41% students of color, with 11% of that number being students attending Reed from international homes. Reed’s curriculum has changed as well, with a new major in comparative race and ethnicity studies (CRES) and an expanded syllabus for Hum 110. All of this is directly related to the work done by the MRC over the past quarter of a century.

As an African-American student, watching this event unfold was a powerful thing. The gravity of administration giving the MRC leeway to make this event a reality is something that has not been lost on me: it shows the institution’s commitment to making this campus one where my peers of color and I feel wanted, valued, and safe. Although there still is much work to do on this front, every journey has to start somewhere. That Reed’s journey started 25 years ago is a strong sign of the college’s past—and continued—efforts to make this campus one of multicultural freedom.

Tags: Institutional, International, Campus Life, Diversity/Equity/Inclusion