An Open Door: The Opening of the Days-Massolo Center Provides a Platform for Student Discussion

By Amal Asghar’15

Although Hamilton often feels like it may be frozen in time, the College has recently made several changes including the opening of the Days-Massolo Center located on College Hill Road. For several years now, the campus has been in need of a common location for students, faculty, and staff to engage in open discussion. The new Center will be dedicated to multicultural awareness and education on campus, and will serve as a resource for all Hamilton students. The Center was dedicated to Hamilton trustees Drew S. Days III and Arthur J. Massolo last April, and Amit Taneja was appointed the director of Days-Massolo this past summer.

Taneja, a native of India, has a strong, personal connection to his job. During his undergraduate days at the University of British Columbia, he felt overwhelmed by personal and family conflicts. During this rough time, he gave up on higher education until a few mentors saw his potential. For this reason, Taneja truly believes in the benefit of having a support system and wants the Center to become a “home-away-from-home” for all students. 

The Center has several facilities open for student use. There is a living room equipped with a television and Wii console, a kitchen, a study location, and a computer lab. The building also houses the Womyn’s Center and Rainbow Alliance.
Many multicultural clubs and organizations have started moving their meetings to the gathering space located on the first floor of the Center. Some of these groups include the Asian Cultural Society (ACS), Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), and South Asian Students’ Society (SASO).

Taneja wants students to find their voices not only in asking tough questions, but in answering them as well. He elaborated, “We’re encouraged in main society to not look at our differences … but the Center is a safe space where dialogue can happen freely across differences in race, gender, and sexuality. We talk about how our identities shape our experience, our thoughts, and our feelings.”

The Center is not just for multicultural students to visit, but it is a place for all Hamilton students to come and have open conversations about questions or issues on their minds. Taneja said, “This is a place where how we talk to one another is equally important as what we talk about. Honest dialogue amongst students is essential for their understanding.”

Not only does Taneja have faith in the Center as a tool for the entire community, but he also has taken a liking to the campus dynamic as a safe, intellectual environment. Taneja said, “I have been really impressed by the ways in which faculty, staff, administrators interact with students like they’re human beings. You are a student who has a name, has interests, and has history. You are not just your student number.”

Taneja’s goal is for the Center to become an integral part of the campus and for every student to take part in discussions and events.

About Amit
He claims flying kites as his first love
He has two cats named Calvin and Hobbes
He DJs techno music and podcasts them on