Gwendolyn Brooks and Casa Latina welcome new and returning studentsBy Danny Davis

Danny Davis

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With fall semester classes underway, both the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center and Casa Latina held open houses last week for new and returning students.The open houses were designed to show students some of the services both facilities offer to WIU minority students.

This year, GBCC recently announced it has a special addition for students who use the center.

“We have a new computer lab that’s now hooked up to the campus mainframe for students to use,” Belinda Carr, director of GBCC, said.

According to Carr, the new computer lab will allow students the opportunity to operate the same technology which is used in other campus computer labs.

In addition, Carr said the new computer lab will be open during regular business hours, which are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

She said the additional hours will allow students to use the computers when most other computer labs on campus are closed.

Carr explained the general purpose of GBCC is to allow students to have a place where they can study, hold meetings and meet people from different cultural backgrounds.

Though GBCC is primarily open for African-American students, any student is welcome to utilize its services.

She added every semester GBCC offers an open house to provide students with information on how they can get involved with the center through programs and minority organizations.

“We had students sign up for a little bit of everything, all the way from the Minority Graduate Association to the International Friendship Club,” Carr said.

Hiro Tungoo, president of IFC, said GBCC provided him with an opportunity to get involved in a variety of things by attending one of its open houses.

“The international students come by just to meet new friends or to work on their English skills,” Tungoo said.

“The IFC once held a retreat in at the GBCC,” he added.

Besides the open house, GBCC also sponsored a welcome-back picnic prior to the start of school.

“It’s a warm, welcoming, inviting place for students to hang out and meet, greet and renew old acquaintances and also make new acquaintances,” Carr added.

Along with GBCC, Casa Latina is another place where culture and friendship come together.

Casa Latina offers students a unique, relaxing setting in which they can meet other students and also learn a little bit about the history of Latin Americans through decorative artifacts and paintings.

“Casa Latina is a place where students can identify with and come make new friends, ” Nazareth Hattwick, director of Casa Latina, said.

Hattwick said Casa Latina gives students a chance to explore and learn more about the Latin culture in a non-academic setting.

Casa Latina is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information about GBCC or Casa Latina, contact Carr at (309) 298-2220 or Hattwick at (309) 298-3379.

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