The Multicultural Student Services Center, known as MSSC, began as the Afro-American Society in a Quonset hut on campus that was shared with Fine Arts. In 1971, the building was torn down and the Afro-American Society prepared to move into the Lee House at 31 Upper College Road. When it moved into the Lee House in 1973, the name of the organization changed to Uhuru SaSa, and the building was named the Uhuru SaSa House. The Student Life Office changed the name to Minority House in 1981, and in 1983, the Student Senate voted to change the name back to Uhuru SaSa. In February 1991, the building became the Multicultural Center. The Multicultural Student Services Center then moved to the old Theta Chi fraternity house at 14 Upper College Road in 1993.
Plans for a new building to house the Multicultural Student Services Center at 74 Lower College Road (between the Human Resources Department and the Memorial Union) led to a groundbreaking ceremony on April 27, 1995. The new building was finished in 1998 and the opening celebrations were held in September of that year.
The URI Multicultural Student Services Center serves students from historically marginalized communities, including but not limited to race, gender, ethnicity, national of origin, sexual orientation, and religious minority.
The Multicultural Student Services Center promotes access, equity and individual growth for traditionally underserved students and collaborates with campus partners to provide developmentally appropriate programs and building resources which connect and support the URI community in becoming just and culturally competent global citizens who inspire hope for the future.
We believe the vision of the URI Multicultural Student Services Center are grounded in the values upon which the theories and practices of intersectionality and multiculturalism are based.
- Social Justice: We believe that society can be fair and just in eradicating structural barriers to maximizing full participation and development for all. By advocating for just structures in the learning environment, the MSSC helps support access to higher education for students who are often underserved by higher education institutions. In addition, providing co-curricular opportunities to put their learning in action helps prepare students for lifelong advocacy in their daily lives.
- Learning: We believe that learning is most effective when learners have the opportunity to systematically examine and reexamine the assumptions underlying what they know to be true, in safe environments where the learning process is collaboratively shared with others within a systematic framework of reciprocal expectations and responsibilities.
- Personal and Cultural Development: We believe that development is most effective when it is understood that authentic knowledge of society and culture begins with the growth and maturation of the self, the acquisition of life skills, and the search for meaning in individual and group experiences. We believe in supporting the personal assessment of cultural awareness by students and encouraging students to grow at every level.
- Standards of Excellence. We believe that our work, life, and play should model high expectations, ethical and moral standards, and caring for self and others across disciplinary, institutional, and geographical boundaries.