History of The Crossroads Program


1996 - In January a group of administrators and faculty are convened by Dr. Hank Toutian, Dean of Students, and Dr. Elizabeth Bear, then Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs to "discuss, create, and implement an international/intercultural house at Gustavus." The first students are admitted to The Crossroads Program in the fall of 1996 and the program is housed in Johnson Hall. The first Program Advisor is Dr. Jenifer Ward, a faculty member in Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, with the overall work of The Crossroads Program guided by an advisory board. Dr. Ward also acts as the Head Resident for Johnson Hall. To read a bit more about the first year.

1998 - In March an F3 tornado sweeps through campus causing an estimated $50 million in damage, to include the loss of more than 2000 trees and 80% of the windows on campus. Johnson Hall, original home to The Crossroads Program, is deemed unsafe and demolished the following June. Students of The Crossroads Program are moved into various campus houses and lounges in Pittman and Sohre Halls. A temporary building, Prairie View Hall, is erected and The Crossroads Program moves to Prairie View for the remainer of the year. The Swedish House is also destroyed by the tornado and that program moves to the Sjostrom House.

1999 - Members of The Crossroads Program continue to be housed in Prairie View, a "temperary" building erected after the tornado. Dr. Gaston Alzate, faculty member in Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures takes over as Program Advisor and Head Resident. The Board of Trustees approves a comprehensive plan for construction of a residential facility that would house The Crossroads Program, The Swedish House (Svenska Huset), and the Office of International Education. The new facility is slated to open fall of 2000. In October the Board of Trustees affirms the work of the building planning commitee, sites the building to the west of Olin Hall, and instructs the committee to move forward with the planning for the August 2000 opening of the building. To read a bit more about the proposed building (Page 1; Page 2)

2000 - The Curtis and Eileen Carlson International Center opens its doors to welcome the members of The Crossroads Program, The Swedish House (Svenska Huset), and the Office of International Education. In addition to suite style rooms, the facility includes a large kitchen, community room with fireplace, and an apartment for visiting scholars. Dr. Gaston Alsote remains Program Advisor and becomes the Head Resident in the new building.

2003 - Cheryl Hastings, Administrative Assistant for the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Programs, takes over as the Head Resident for Carlson International Center. Program Advisor responsibilites move to Raj Sethuraju, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Programs.

2007 - Overall responsibility for The Crossroads Program moves to Residential Life. Troy L. Seppelt, Assistant Director in Residential Life, takes over at Program Advisor and Dr. Thia Cooper, faculty member in Religion, is selected as the buildings Head Resident. A satilitte dish is added to Carlson International Center and a "language corner" created where students can view international television broadcasts in Spanish, German, Japanese, French, and Russian.

2008 - A projector, speakers, VCR/DVD player, cable TV access and a computer are added to the Community Room of Carlson International Center. These additions complete the original vision of a flexible community space that can be used by faculty, staff, and students alike.

2009 - The Crossroads Program is awarded the Paul Magnuson Award for Leadership and Service for its continuing efforts to present a global perspective to the campus community. The program also receives a Paul Magnuson Award for Leadership and Service as well as an Award of Excellence (presented by the Diversity Leadership Council and the Office of Multicultural Programs) in recognition for the Gustavus Day of Fasting - A Ramadan Celebration event. Gustavus Day of Fasting - A Ramadan Celebration was planned and executed in collaboration with the Pan African Student Organization (PASO).

2012 - Residential Life creates a new position called the Faculty/Administrator in Residence (FAIR) with one FAIR being dedicated to the Crossroads Program. Dr. Sujay Rao, Associate Professor and Chair in the History Department, is named the FAIR for the Crossroads Program. Dr. Rao now serves as the main advisor for the program.

2019 - The Crossroads program is revitalized. New programs are added, such as: 

  • Monthly Tables hosted by Student Orgs who are interested in sharing their culture/religion/perspectives with their peers. This year the following student orgs hosted a Table:
    • Muslim Student Association (MSA)
    • Organization for Latin American and Spanish Cultures (OLAS)
    • Pan-Afrikan Student Organization (PASO)
    • French Club
    • Environmental Action Coalition (EAC)
  • GLocal - a co-mentorship program for domestic and international students to form friendships, find connections and support one another.
  • J-term Programming such as Pho Friday, World Hot Chocolate Night and a cooking demonstration from India Palace Restaurant.

Brainstorming took place for future improvements to the program. This includes creating a dedicated Collegiate Fellow position for the program, creating and stocking a kitchen to be used for Crossroads Programming, and creating a spice cupboard to help students gain access to spices that are not common in the area.