A "Home Away from Home" Celebration

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UMD's Multicultural Center: A Decade of Student Service
September 24 and October 14

April Snelson, a member of the Queer and Ally Student Union, QASU, said, "The MC is the only place you won’t be judged and treated differently. The times I spent in QASU are the most important moments I've had since I came to UMD."

Two events will be held to celebrate the 10-Year Anniversary of UMD's Multicultural Center (MC).

An Ice Cream Social will take place from 11 am–1 pm on Wed., September 24, in Kirby Student Center's Multicultural Center.

Alixa and Naima, spoken word and award-winning multimedia theater artists, will perform "Climbing PoeTree," from 7–9 pm on Sat., October 14 in the Kirby Ballroom. See these two boundary-breaking soul-sisters create a compelling vision for a more just and livable world.

Sponsored by the Office of Cultural Diversity, both events are free and the public is invited.

Congrats MC, here's to many more decades of success.

The Multicultural Center's Impact

KongMeng Marianne Ellen-McKensie

"Because it is so comfortable here, people open up very quickly." --- Kongmeng Vang, junior environmental science major and international peer advisor.

"The BSA is like a second home to me."
--- Marianne Neba, junior women's studies major, member of the Black Student Association (BSA).
SERVE members (l-r) Kenzie Braden, sophomore communication sciences and disorders major and Ellen Kessel, senior human resource management major. Kessel said "It opens up whole new world of diversity that we wouldn’t have known about before joining."
Thelmy Chris Anna
"MC is like a mini community in UMD. You can learn about other people and also about yourself. The Latino/Chicana Student Association taught me a lot that I wouldn't have learned in a classroom.”
--- Thelmy Maldonado, LCSA, senior.
"The MC provides a place where students can be themselves. It serves as an extended family and lots of students say it is the most safe place on campus for them." --- Chris Davila, academic excellence coordinator. “The MC educates everybody with in depth discussion and activities. It helps improve student leadership skills. Even if students are not participating, just knowing it exist is supportive to them." --- Anna Gilmore, international student advisor.

The Multicultural Center: A Sense of Belonging

Since opening in October 2004, the Multicultural Center is nearly always full of students who are studying, planning events, organizing activities, and socializing. The UMD student organizations housed in the Multicultural Center include: Access for All, Asian Pacific American Association, Black Student Association, International Club, Latino/Chicana Student Association, Queer and Ally Student Union, Women's Resource and Action Center, SERVE (Students Engaged Rewarding Volunteer Experiences), MPIRG (Minnesota Public Interest Research Group), Office of Disability Resources, and the Office of Cultural Diversity.

Students from Minnesota, Duluth, the U.S., and the world find a comfortable and welcoming environment at the MC. Festivals and celebrations presented by MC groups are held throughout the year. These activities are popular with all students and showcase the diversity of the UMD student body.

Susana Pelayo Woodward, one of the staff who spearheaded the effort to bring the student groups and the professional staff in one place, is proud of the success of the center. "We've made a place where students can feel a sense of belonging and place to connect with each other. More than that, the Multicultural Center opens a door for students to find themselves."

Sam McCurry, a junior majoring in communication, is a member of Access For All. He said there is a richness to having so many groups together. “I learn a heck of a lot by just walking around and interacting with people in the MC," he said.

April Snelson, a member of the Queer and Ally Student Union, is a sophomore, studio art major. She appreciates what the Multicultural Center has to offer and is proud of the advocacy work her group takes on. "We work together to bring more awareness about GLBT issues on campus. Having diversity at UMD makes UMD unique."

Story by Cheryl Reitan and Dayae Kim. Photos by Dayae Kim, September, 2014

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Contact Cheryl Reitan creitan@d.umn.edu

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