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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

ICC completes summer renovations

Published: August 31, 2007
Section: News

Long-awaited renovations to the Intercultural Center (ICC), proposed last spring by the organizations past director as well as the Student Union, were finally approved and implemented this summer.

Renovations began in June and were completed by the end of August, just in time for the start of the new school year.

Having just celebrated its 15th anniversary last spring, the ICC is a place where the entire university can come and celebrate diversity, said ICC director Monique Gnanaratnam, through a number of culturally-diverse speakers, meetings, and dinners.

Gnanaratnam, who joined the ICC staff in [YEAR], was able to step into a project that was already set in motion and add some personal touches of her own.

One of those touches was to save old bricks from former offices that might have been torn down during renovations, with the aim of preserving memories for the students who worked in these rooms and might have had murals on the walls.

Basic changes to the ICC included adding new cabinets, replacing old drawers, and building new countertops in the kitchen. In addition, new ventilation systems were installed mid-August.

Furthermore, there will also be a new window added that will open up the lobby area and there are plans to upgrade the library, magazines, and the racks in which they are stored to create a more open space.

Upstairs, a total of four offices were knocked down and replaced by one remaining office in order to create a multipurpose room available for use by the whole campus.
This room was built in the hopes that it will draw in more people and serve as a space where students can practice for cultural shows. This will be made easy by the new dance floor and mirrors, and new windows throughout this space.

Since the upstairs offices were knocked down, students will now share three offices, two of which are located downstairs. There is new carpeting and a new directors office downstairs, which will allow Gnanaratnam to be closer to the students.

No major changes were made to the downstairs lounge;

however, the pictures of students hung on the rooms walls will be updated.

Desks were kept in the main office, and there are plans to upgrade the library, magazines, and the racks in which they are stored to create a more open space. The open space and planned new signs outside will enable more people to see into the center, Gnanaratnam said, because not everyone might be aware of the ICC if they dont work with it.

When asked what will be the biggest impact the renovations will have on students, Gnanaratnam said that theyll appreciate the renovations because many people call the ICC home and remodeling the center makes you feel somebody cares. In the future, Gnanaratam also hopes to install a new refrigerator, a garbage disposal unit, and new furniture.

Mark Collins, Vice President of Campus Operations, stated the project seems to have gone very well and I am happy to be able to facilitate making the changes happen for the ICC.

Collins believes the new space will help the ICC leadership and students do the types of programs that they have been unable to do in the past.

Gnanaratnam added that she believed the improvements would please both the current Brandeis community as well as alumni. Gnanaratnam said that the outcome of this project is fabulousit is a tribute to the students past and present who worked to make this happen, as well as to the past director of the ICC, Sujan Talukdar.

ICC Co-Chair Thomas Ahn 09 is really excited about the changes to the ICC and compares the renovations to a person receiving a makeover. He explained how the new look will produce newly-gained confidence and a revitalized spirit.

Ahn said he hoped that the renovations would increase the number of people who use the ICC, adding that one of his goals was for more students to be able to call the ICC their second home or hang-out spot.

Ahn hoped that the new space will be filled with vibrant energy and exciting activities which enforce stronger bonds within the Brandeis community. In addition, he would like to invite members of the Waltham community and the greater Boston area to use the ICC to foster a strong and positive relationship between Brandeis and the outer community which surrounds us.

Kevin Yim, Secretary of the ICC, stated he was amazed at what I saw when I came back and envisions the new space as a new beacon for the rest of the campus.

He also added that he believes the ICC will host a conglomerate of new ideas and changes and he hopes that everyone is able to see how it will blossom this year.

Ahn believed the changes mirror the progress the ICC has achieved over the years and says the revitalized spirit will allow the ICC to continue to make great progress and help students embrace the many different cultures and diversity which make up the Brandeis community.