Multicultural Center & Empowerment Lounge

MCLA recognizes the importance of community and belonging. We know how vital it is for students to feel seen and safe, both with other students that share their identities and in the wider campus and surrounding communities. The Multicultural Education Resource Center serves as a safe space for students of color to show up as their authentic self. This center aims to create connectivity among students who share the same culture or ethnic background. Programs that you can expect from this space, are typically centered around cultural foods, music and the expression of historical Caribbean, Asian and African roots. Additionally, the center programs on topics such as police brutality, microaggressions, bias, advocacy, white privilege, and oppression with the hopes of educating the campus community. The Center also promotes access to college and other resources, benefits, scholarships, internships, career development, and graduate programs. 


The Multicultural Education Resource Center is located in the Amsler Campus Center in room 208. The MERC is open to students on weekdays from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.  **Please note that the center is currently offline as we finish some renovations. We are looking to reopening our newly updated space soon. If you are looking for an identity-based space, please feel free to use the Empowerment Lounge. 

The Empowerment Lounge is located in Venable Hall.  It is open to students 24 hours a day.  



The Multicultural Center has a variety of resources to help students grow and thrive, both personally and academically, including: 

  • Multicultural Library: Including a variety of fiction and nonfiction texts representing people of color; students have an array of resources at their fingertips for academic or personal use. 
  • Informational Resources: The MERC is dedicated to providing current and relevant information on a variety of topics and resources to support the wellbeing, sense of belonging, and empowerment of its students of color. 
  • Empowerment Lounge: The Empowerment Lounge is a student run space that was created in 2018, by students who wanted to create a safe space for their community. The space was designed and created to allow students of color to be celebrated, comfortable and seen, while navigating the challenges of attending a predominately white Institution. This lounge often hosts Multicultural Programing and Executive board meetings. Students often reunite in this space to be in community with one another, this space is further removed from central campus to create a safer space for intentional and private dialogue. 

Student Organizations

The Multicultural Education Resource Center is home to a growing array of student-led organizations, including:

Asian Student Association Black Student Union LAtin American Society
Nexxus Step Team Women of Color Initiative  

Community Resources

There are also a variety of ways to connect with the local community and history!

The Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail Leadership Alliance Northern Berkshire Community Coalition Berkshire Black Economic Council




The Multicultural Center is run by both professional and student staff who serve as an invaluable resource to the campus community. 

Arlene Theodore
Arlene Theodore (she/her)
Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Initiatives

Office: Amsler Campus Center, Room 319 


Arlene serves as the staff member for both the Multicultural Education Resource Center and the Empowerment Lounge.  Arlene does programing centered around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Such programs include: racial justice, inclusivity, intersectionality, and cultural identity. Additionally, Arlene serves as the primary advisor for all Multicultural Clubs, Groups and Organizations. In her role at MCLA, she serves as a mentor, advocate, and resource for marginalized communities on campus. If you are interested in joining a Multicultural Club/organization or looking for a resource and advocate, please feel free to stop by her office or send her an email.