Conferences & Events

Kente Graduation Celebration  

26th Annual Fall 2023 Kente Graduation Celebration
Thursday, December 14 | Celebration Time: 6PM-7:30PM | Hollinger Fieldhouse |  Doors Open at 5PM and close at 6:30PM

The Dowdy Multicultural Center is excited to coordinate the Kente Graduation Celebration, known affectionally by students and alumni as “Kente” which is an event that was created in the fall of 1992 to “honor and celebrate the achievements of multicultural students”. Kente has become a “true West Chester University tradition”.

As the student body at West Chester University has grown in its cultural diversity, so has the event itself. Today, Kente is an event that affirms and celebrates the cultural identity of students who identify as Alaskan Native, Asian and Asian American, Black and African American, Caribbean American, Desi American, Latina/o/x, Native American, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and Multiracial.

 REGISTRATION LINK AND DEADLINE
Please check your email for the link. Only those that are anticipated to graduate and we have received information from the registrar will receive the email.
Registration Deadline: TBD
No exceptions will be made. This deadline will allow the office to finalize orders and make the necessary arrangements for this large-scale event. We appreciate your cooperation.
Submitting form: You must hit the “Submit” button on the bottom right-hand side of the form. If you have difficulty viewing the submit button, you may need to minimize your browser. It is recommended that you use a laptop or desktop to submit this form.
More information: You will receive a confirmation within 4 business days after your registration.  Please be sure to check your email for this.

STOLE OPTIONS
During registration, you will be given the option to select from a variety of stoles. We will place an order for these stoles based on your selection and timely registration.

DEDICATION/ EXPRESSION OF APPRECIATION
In the registration process you will have the opportunity to provide a dedication or expression of appreciation that will be included in the program. There is a 38-word limit.

SEATING
Students:
Graduating students have reserved seating which will be marked. Kente volunteers will be on site to assist students in finding their seats. Accessibility accommodations can be made for graduating students who require them. Pease reach out to us at multicultural@wcupa.edu to request an accommodation.

Guests:
Guest seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. We suggest that students limit their number of guests to a total of six (6). Live streaming will be available in the case that the Hollinger Fieldhouse reaches seating capacity. Due to safety concerns, guests will not be permitted to stand during the graduation celebration.

LIVE STREAM
Live stream is available for those that are unable to attend at: www.wcupa.edu/commencement

ACCOMMODATIONS
If you are in need of any accommodations to fully participate in this event, please reach out as soon as possible to multicultural@wcupa.edu. A staff member will return your email.


FAQ’S AND STAY UP TO DATE
Email Communication: You will continue to receive emails through your wcupa.edu account as the primary source of communication. “Kente Graduation Celebration” will continue to be in the subject line. You may receive communication directly from one of the DMC Staff members (Secretary, Assistant Director, or Associate Director) or from the multicultural@wcupa.edu email.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s): tinyurl.com/DMCprograms 
DMC Kente Graduation Information Page: tinyurl.com/DMCprograms (Feel free to place a bookmark and check for updates.)
Reach us: For questions that are not answered in the FAQ’s, you can contact our office at (610) 436-3273, or email us at multicultural@wcupa.edu
Follow us: Instagram page: @dowdymc_wcu

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’s)

 What time do I arrive?
All graduates need to arrive at Hollinger Fieldhouse (Purple gym area), 150 University Ave, West Chester, PA  19383 no later than 5 p.m. to check-in, receive hood prep assistance if needed, and to line up for the celebration. We will begin the event promptly at 6 p.m.

Where do I park?
General Parking:
During the Kente Graduation Celebration, parking is free in the Commons Garage (670 S Church St, West Chester, PA 19383). Students and their guests are strongly encouraged to park in the Commons Parking Garage first for easier access to Hollinger Field House.

Accessible Parking:
Hollinger Accessible Parking - Guests with a university or state issued handicap placard can park on Church Street via Sharpless Street. You make a left off of High Street onto Sharpless Street and then another left onto Church Street.  There will be parking officers present to assist with this. If those spots are full, you can drop off at Church Street and University Avenue (as close to the building as possible) and then park in one of the garages.

What do I wear?
Please bring/wear your graduation gown and the purple and gold hood. You will not need your graduation cap.  Be sure to view the YouTube video to be familiar with the proper way to wear your hood. You can view this here: Commencement | How to Properly Wear Your Graduation Gown.  We have faculty and staff to assist with making sure you hood is worn correctly if needed. Traditionally, graduates dress up for the Kente Graduation Celebration, but we do also encourage you to come however you feel most comfortable or are able to, including as you are. No storage space will be provided. Please do not bring any extra items that will require storage.

How do I order/what is the information about my cap and gown?
You can find information about your cap and gown, diplomas, honor cords and other special regalia here: https://www.wcupa.edu/Commencement/student.aspx
Cap, gowns, and hoods will NOT be available at the Kente Graduation Celebration.

Will food be available?
No food will be available. Please plan accordingly.

Will there be pictures taken?
Legacy Photographics will take photographs of each graduate as they shake hands with the dignitary and as they exit the stage.  There is no obligation to purchase pictures and each graduate will receive an email proof within 48 hours of the ceremony. For more information visit www.legacyphoto.com.

Can I pick up my stole before the ceremony?
No. Stoles will be presented at the celebration. You must be present at the celebration in order to receive the stole.

What if I cannot participate and desire to receive a stole?
In order to receive a stole, you must participate in the celebration.

How many graduates and participants will be there?
Over 350 graduates and 1,800 guests.

Who will place the stole on me?
There will be a designated staff or faculty who will do this.

Are masks required?
In keeping with current health and safety protocols, mask wearing is optional. We encourage individuals to make their own decisions regarding mask usage. Our expectation is that everyone will be respectful of individuals' choices on the matter.

Ruby Jones Conference on Race, Social Justice & Civic Leadership 

2022 RJC Flyer

The 4th Annual Ruby Jones Conference on Race, Social Justice and Civic Leadership will take place on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 from 9AM to 1:30 PM in Sykes Student Union. This year's theme is Race, Social Justice and Civic Leadership in the Arts.

The goal of this conference is to create an educational environment where students can engage in learning that will raise awareness and promote action-oriented dialogue about racial, cultural and social issues that impact how students experience life on campus, in communities and in society.

The conference is named in honor of Professor Ruby Jones. Professor Jones was a West Chester University alumna and the first Black faculty hired at the institution. She was a K-12 educator prior to becoming a professor at WCU. Professor Ruby Jones was actively involved with the NAACP, American Association of University Women, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Phi Delta Kappa. She has been described as an educator, humanitarian and civic leader.

The keynote speaker for the 2022 Ruby Jones conference is Bryan Terrell Clark, a Yale and Temple University graduate and an accomplished actor and singer/songwriter. He has performed in hugely successful Broadway shows and a wide range of popular television programming for various networks. He is best known for his role as George Washington in the record-breaking Broadway hit Hamilton and as Marvin Gaye in Motown: The Musical. He received a 2014 Grammy Award nomination for “Best Musical Theater Album” and most recently appeared in Ava DuVernay’s 2020 Peabody Award winning Netflix mini series When They See Us. His other numerous appearances include CBS’s  NCIS: New Orleans, Blue Bloods, CSI: NY and The Unit, Fox’s Empire, as well as BET’s The New Edition Story and Tyler Perry’s House of Payne. As a singer, songwriter and producer, he has written with  Mary J. Blige and has performed with such artists as Maxwell, Brandy, Ne-Yo, Anita Baker, Michael Bublé and many others. He is also the recipient of the 2018 VOICE FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARD From Rutgers University, the 2019 GALLERY OF SUCCESS AWARD from Temple University,  HELP USA 2019 “Help Hero Award” for Volunteerism for his ongoing commitment to social change and activism.

Registration for this event officially closes on October 8, 2022 at 11:59pm. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER HERE

*Because this event is taking place during class time; registrants have the ability to pick specific times in which they will be available to attend the conference. This way, all are able to enjoy the conference when their schedule permits.*

Brothers of Excellence Programs

Brothers of Excellence Conference 2024

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Conference Mission: The Brothers of Excellence Conference will provide college Men of Color with the knowledge and community connections to:

  • Identify a social issue that impacts Men of Color.
  • Explore their civic leadership roles in connection with their multiple identities.
  • Recognize resources and individuals to create a sense of community of support on campus.

Learn more and register

Other Programs and Events

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Cultural Heritage Months 

Latina/o/x Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)

 

2023 Calendar of Events

Conversation Series on Latinx Environmental & Community Issues

Tuesdays – September 19 + October 10, 2023 | 1pm – 2pm | DMC – Sykes 003
Join us for a series of conversations about various social justice issues impacting Latinx communities. Food and Prizes will be provided. 
Sponsored by Dowdy Multicultural Center. No Registration Required. For more info, contact the Dowdy Multicultural Center, 610-436-3273

Latinx Heritage Month Events

Bingo: Latin X Edition | Thursday, September 21 | 3pm-4pm | DMC – Sykes 003
Join us for a fun game of bingo and learn about Latinx culture and history. Bingo winners have a chance to snag a cool gift card! 

Café & Pan | Tuesday, September 26 | 12pm - 1pm | DMC – Sykes 003 
Join the Dowdy Multicultural Center and the Global Engagement Office for some Pan Dulce and coffee while learning about study abroad funding and upcoming study abroad opportunities in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. 
Sponsored by Dowdy Multicultural Center and the Global Engagement Office.

Watch Party Wind Down | Thursday, October 19, 2023 | 12pm – 1pm | DMC – Sykes 003 
Join the Dowdy Multicultural Center for a fun afternoon of creativity and cinema! 

15th Annual Latinx Communities Conference | September 28th | 12:30pm | Sykes Student Union
Each year, this interdisciplinary conference provides a creative space to enhance the understanding of Latina/o/x issues, contributions, and cultures. They pride themselves on serving as a link between academia and local communities, institutions and organizations. Please email Dr. Daniela Johannes: djohannes@wcupa.edu or  Dr. Emily Aguiló Pérez: eaguilo@wcupa.edu for more information.

Native American Heritage Month (November)

2023 Calendar of Events

Native American Heritage Month Social Justice Education Conversation Series

Monday, November 13 | 2:00pm – 3:00pm | Dowdy Multicultural Center – Sykes 003
This event serves as a safe and educational space to talk about the history of the Washington Commanders, formerly known as the Washington Redskins. During this conversation, participants will have the opportunity to learn about the origins of the team's name and discuss the significance and controversy around the name being changed. After the discussion, participants will enjoy snacks and play a game of Kahoot, where three lucky winners will have the chance to take home cool prizes! 
Sponsored by Dowdy Multicultural Center. No Registration Required. For more info, contact the Dowdy Multicultural Center, 610-436-3273

Monday, November 20 | 2:00pm –3:00pm | Dowdy Multicultural Center – Sykes 003 
This event serves as a safe and educational space to explore Native American History and the origins of Thanksgiving. Attendees will be encouraged to share their understanding of the origins of Thanksgiving and what they have learned during this event. Attendees will also have a chance to talk about this season of thankfulness and share what they are thankful for in a fun and creative way! Snacks will be provided.  
Sponsored by Dowdy Multicultural Center. No Registration Required. For more info, contact the Dowdy Multicultural Center, 610-436-3273 

Native American Heritage Month Events

Watch Party Wind Down | Wednesday, November 29 |  2:00pm –3:00pm | DMC (Sykes 003)
Join us as we watch the Disney movie “Pocahontas”! This classic Disney movie is a romanticized version of a young Native American woman and her encounter with an English colonial settler. After viewing this movie, we will discuss the true story of Pocahontas, the Powhatan people, and reflect on some of the issues emulated in the movie. Many of these issues can be connected to the current struggles many Native American groups face today.  
Sponsored by Dowdy Multicultural Center. No Registration Required. For more info, contact the Dowdy Multicultural Center, 610-436-3273

Black History Month (February) 

2024 Calendar of Events

Black History Month Events

Download the Calendar of Events here.

Pools Apart: Swimming in America as Black and White

February 8, 2024 | 3 - 4:30 pm | Philips Autograph Library 
Join the discussion about the history of racially segregated swimming and its ongoing consequences with Dr. Kodosky, Victoria Prizzia, Project Creator of POOL: A Social History of Segregation, and members of the historic Nile Swim Club's community. No registration necessary.  Hosted by the History Department. Contact Bob Kodosky: rkodosky@wcupa.edu 

Black Love, Health and Wellness

Monday, February 12, 2024 | 7 PM-8:00 PM| Dowdy Multicultural Center
As a precursor to Valentine’s Day, join this presentation and discussion promoting a healthy well-being through positive self-esteem, uplifting relationships, self-care, and more.  Sponsored by the Dowdy Multicultural Center, Sisters United, Black Men United and Empowering Communities Around You (ECAY)

GET ON THE BUS- 29th Annual Sankofa Conference at Bloomsburg, University

Saturday, February 17, 2024 | All Day
The Sankofa Conference is an annual program hosted by the Multicultural Center at Bloomsburg University serving college students.  This annual gathering was designed to help students learn, understand, and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of people of African descent. It promotes unity and understanding among students and is a forum for discussion and learning. A charter bus will leave WCU’s campus early morning and return late evening. 

This year’s Sankofa Conference features a series of workshops, highlighted by a keynote address, "The Au·dac·i·ty:  Moving from Promise to Purpose." Sankofa is a word from the Akan Tribe of Ghana (West Africa).  Translated, it means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what is a risk of being left behind.”  Space is limited and advanced registration is required via RamConnect: https://cglink.me/2f3/r2259904    

Banned Books Continued

Monday, February 19- Thursday, February 28, 2024
Building upon the fall and spring programming sponsored by WCU’s Frederick Douglass Institute, stop by the Dowdy Multicultural Center in February to learn about the censorship of black authors whose works currently appear on the list of banned books. Enter your name in a drawing to win one of the many featured banned books.  There will be multiple giveaways.  All are welcome to participate!  Sponsored by the Dowdy Multicultural Center

The Nile Swim Club of Yeadon: A History

Tuesday, February 20, 2024 | 7:00pm - 8:00pm | Virtual
When it opened in July of 1959, the Nile Swim Club welcomed over one thousand people to its pool. The only problem that day, remembers Bill Mellix, then 13, "None of us knew how to swim." In the 1930s, an African American middle class began moving into Yeadon, leading to one of the nation's first Black suburban enclaves. By the end of the 1950s, Ebony magazine dubbed Yeadon Philadelphia's "Black Mainline." The town remained majority white however, and strict racial segregation was enforced, including the local pool. Typical for the time, white residents maintained it as a private swim club to avoid public desegregation laws. The response of Yeadon's African Americans proved unique. They built their own pool and opened it to all, regardless of race. It attracted members from the Philadelphia area, including New Jersey and offered a variety of programming. Celebrities such as Harry Belafonte and members of the Supremes visited. Decades later, hip hop icon D.J. Cash Money and actor Will Smith started out at the Nile as MCs. Join author and WCU history professor Robert Kodosky for this community program as he reveals the incredible history and legacy of the Nile Swim Club and the vibrant landmark it remains today.  Sponsored by the Chester County History Center.  This presentation is via Zoom and will be recorded and available for 7 days for all registered participants.  Visit this link for complete details and to register:  https://www.tickettailor.com/events/chestercountyhistorycenter/1116959 

Shaping the Future Together: Women & Femmes of Color Panel and Networking 

Thursday, February 22, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Sykes Ballroom
Join us for a panel discussion on navigating the post-graduate world as a woman of color,  dinner, and time for networking and connection with other women and femmes of color here at WCU.  Come to learn and grow, together. Sponsored by the Center for Women and Gender Equity, the Dowdy Multicultural Center, and others.  Registration is not required, but strongly encouraged. Registration is available via RamConnect link: https://cglink.me/2f3/r2259232.
For more information, contact cwge@wcupa.edu  

Brothers of Excellence (Conference) Preview and Power Hour

Friday, February 23, 2024 | 2:00 PM-3:30 PM| Dowdy Multicultural Center (DMC)
Calling all men of color!! Students, faculty, and staff are cordially invited to stop by the DMC to network, mingle, and learn more about the upcoming Brothers of Excellence Conference at WCU, an empowering and enduring campus tradition.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Sponsored by the Dowdy Multicultural Center. 

Black History Month Jeopardy

Monday, February 26, 2024 | 1:00 PM- 4:30 PM | Dowdy Multicultural Center
Show your knowledge and learn more!  Stop by the Dowdy Multicultural Center located on the ground floor of Sykes Student Union at your convenience throughout the day to participate in trivia. Earn prizes and other giveaways.  Sponsored by the Dowdy Multicultural Center.

 WCU at People’s Light Theatre Performance- the ripple, the wave that carried me home

February 21- March 24, 2024 | 2 PM and 7 PM
Join the community for a performance at the People’s Light Theatre in Malvern, by playwright, Christina Anderson.  Play synopsis:  Despite growing up in landlocked Kansas, Janice Collen’s childhood is defined by water—her mother and father are prominent activists in the movement to desegregate local swimming pools. As Janice comes of age and seeks meaning away from her parents’ politics, an unspoken distance grows within the family. Decades later, when Janice is asked to speak at a ceremony honoring her father, she must delve into her family’s past and reconcile the personal truths and public legacy of her inheritance. This “poignant, transporting, and quietly subversive” (TheaterMania) new play takes us on a journey through the decades, from 1930s segregation to Rodney King. Visit the DMC Events page to learn about how you can get a free student ticket and even transportation to a performance.    Complete details about the play and performance can be found here. (More to come about this event, check back for an update)

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month (April)

2023 Calendar of Events
Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month Events

* (APIDA) Asian Pacific Islander Desi American

Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month Events

Celebrated nationally in May, but honored in April at WCU.

APIDA Heritage Month Trivia Night
Monday, April 3 | 5pm-6pm | Sykes 003 (DMC)

Asian Student Association - Anthropology Club's Food and Culture Series
Wednesday, April 5| 6pm-7pm| Anderson 211

APIDA Heritage Month Lunch and Learn
Wednesday, April 12 | 12pm-1pm | Sykes 003 (DMC)

Beyond Boba, Anime, and K-pop: Gentrification of APIDA Neighborhoods
(Collaboration with the Asian Student Association)
Thursday, April 13 | 1pm-2:30pm | Sykes 003 (DMC)

APIDA Heritage Month - Calming Crafts
Monday, April 17 | 12pm-4:30pm | Sykes 003 (DMC)

Asian Student Association - Traditional Filipino Dance Workshop
(Collaboration with the Filipino Student Alliance)
Monday, April 17 | 6pm-8pm | E.O. Bull Center - Room 114

Asian Student Association - Traditional Outdoor Asian Games
Monday, April 24 | 6:30pm-7:30pm | Academic Quad

Giving up on Pretty: APIDA Women Experiences
(Collaboration with the Asian Student Association)
Thursday, April 27 | 1pm-2pm | Sykes 003 (DMC)

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