Video: 2011 ECC Construction Project Documentary
In 1968, UW students from the Black Student Union staged a sit-in at the UW President’s Office to demand a minority educational program. The aim was to recruit, retain, educate and graduate minority students at the University of Washington. After months of discussions, two programs were created: the Special Educational Opportunity Program (SEOP – later to be known as the Office of Minority Affairs) and the Ethnic Cultural Center (ECC). The ECC building was designed by Ben McAdoo, the first African American architect with a practice in Washington State and opened its doors in the fall of 1971.
Originally home to five organizations, the ECC now has over fifty affiliated student organizations, and provides them with leadership and organization development and training, meeting and performance space, and other programs that enhance the exchange of multicultural perspectives and values.
ECC Construction Project
Students of Color challenged the University’s commitment to diversity again with the passage of I-200 in 1998 which led to three years of negotiations and to building renovations finished in 2001. With the growing number of ECC users, students and community members continued to voice their concerns about space. A Feasibility study approved by SAFC was conducted in 2007 and another Building Analysis Report in 2008. They determined a new and bigger building was needed to continue to offer excellent services and to accommodate all who want to use the facilities well into the twenty-first century.
From 2007, focus groups that included students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members were gathered and interviewed by the Office of Educational Assessment (OEA). Recommendations from these focus groups shaped the design of the new building. Although the design is still being worked on, current plans for the new building have three stories and 25,000 square feet of space that provide a large multi-purpose room that can hold 250 people, more meetings spaces, more student organization offices, a dance studio, lounge and outside community deck, student project workroom, bigger kitchen, family bathrooms, and more.