Umbrella House Scheduled to Reopen, Host Meetings

The current Umbrella House, located on the northeast side of campus, has its lights on at dusk. The house has been unavailable for meetings since December 2020 (Photo by Shannon Barba).

It has been almost a full year since the Umbrella organizations have been unable to fully utilize and enjoy their designated house. The house was used to hold meetings and gatherings, as well as storing supplies and materials for future events, but due to failure to maintain and clean the house regularly, access was shut down on Dec. 21, 2020.

The Umbrella Organizations at Albion College provide an opportunity for under-represented student groups to be supported, voice concerns on sensitive topics and bring awareness to the Albion community. The nine organizations under the Umbrella include the Asian Awareness Group, Black Student Alliance, Diversability, Hillel, LGBriTS, Organization for Latinx Awareness, United Voices of Albion College and International Student Union. 

Since the shutdown, students have been allowed to access the storage and supplies, but holding meetings in the building has been discouraged. After many students expressed disappointment about the house closure and shared their willingness to respect not only the values the house espouses but the physical property itself, the full capacities of the Umbrella House will soon be making a return. Organizations have already started making the transition by beginning to host meetings and events in the house. Additionally, an upgrade for the building is underway.

Recent conversations with the assistant dean of Campus Life, Sharese Mathis revealed that the building itself needed major renovations, primarily the main bathroom.

According to Mathis, after some much needed renovations, the Umbrella organizations will have full access to the repaired house after Thanksgiving break. 

“As the assistant dean for Campus Life, and a new fresh set of eyes, when I saw the previous state of the Umbrella House, I wanted items to be updated. As for who thought of the ideas, there was a summer meeting with members of the Umbrella organizations discussing upgrades,” said Mathis.

Mathis and the Office of Campus Life will oversee house operations, but hours and usage will be determined by executive leaders of the Umbrella organizations. 

The campus community is encouraged by seeing how the college staff and student leaders can work together to provide such a meaningful space for the Albion Campus. 

According to Diversability president Tyler Hood, Ann Arbor senior, many members of the Umbrella organizations are excited about being able to access the space once again.

“The Umbrella House is a place where a lot of the minority organizations would be able to meet and build peaceful communities,” said Hood. Also, we would cook amazing meals there, do homework and relax in the safe space provided.”

About Shannon Barba 22 Articles
Shannon Barba is a sophomore from Marshall, Michigan, currently double majoring in physics and computer science. After Albion, he hopes to attend graduate school at MIT. In addition to being Co-Marketing Coordinator for the Pleiad, Barba is the Engagements Chair of Student Senate, participant in the Prentiss M. Brown Honors program, member of the Student Volunteer Bureau, mentor for first-year students, pianist for Albion's Jazz Band, representative for the Committee of Student Learning, mentor for Harrington Elementary School, and a member of the Biochemistry Club.

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