Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center

About the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center

During the spring of 1969, a task force of Western Illinois University students sought to establish a cultural center that would provide an ongoing academic and social experience for African American students. The University and the Board of Governors approved the recommendations of the task force and Burns Residence Hall on West Adams Street was chosen as the site for the new Black Cultural Center.

On March 21, 1970, the Center was renamed and dedicated in honor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate of Illinois, Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks, in recognition of her support for the establishment of the facility.

The Gwendolyn Brooks Memorial Park will be used to host various GBCC programs throughout the year.

Objectives of the Center

The objective of the Center is to promote the rich cultural experience of African Americans. To fulfill this objective, the various components of the Center serve to:

  • Develop and expand innovative and meaningful life experiences for all students at Western Illinois University in a centrally located facility.
  • Generate through the University community a quantity of valuable information about the African American experience through the performing arts, classes, lectures, seminars, and other appropriate media.
  • Be a learning center to help develop African American leaders who can later apply their skills in the community of their choice.
  • Establish and maintain a good rapport with African American alumni.
  • Establish and maintain a continuing dialogue with department chairs, faculty, staff, and administrators concerning policies, procedures, programs, and courses which may best serve the cultural needs of African American students.
  • Assist in the annual orientation of new African American students.
  • Provide ongoing support for all Western Illinois University student organizations, particularly African American student organizations.

Multicultural Center

The Multicultural Center was officially opened August of 2009, and is located across the street from the University Union. The center is home to the Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, Casa Latina Cultural Center, and Women's Center. The center is unique in that it is the first building on Western's Macomb campus to be constructed under green standards, including a grass roof. Being located in one central location gives the three centers, Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, Casa Latina Cultural Center, and the Women's Center, a chance to enhance their goals of educational, social and cultural programs, and resources that will help to focus the campus community's awareness and appreciation of ethnic and gender diversity. In addition to the three areas previously mentioned the Multicultural Center houses the following facilities, which are available and must be reserved in advance through one of the Centers.

  • Resource room
  • Study room
  • Boardroom
  • Activity room
  • Pool table
  • Computer room
  • Multipurpose room
  • Lactation room
  • Kitchen