Welcoming diversity

Multicultural Student Leadership Council (MSLC) hosts first Multicultural Welcome Week

By on September 4, 2018

The Multicultural Student Leadership Council (MSLC) was officially recognized as a student organization this summer.

The Quinnipiac University of MSLC is a student organization that serves to foster collaboration between the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement, multicultural student organizations, Student Government Association and other campus partners, according to Abbie O’Neill, Specialist for Student Engagement in the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement. The council assists organizations in goal setting, forward thinking and program planning while also providing a space for students to share best practices.

Graphic by Ian Berkey
When O’Neill came into her position with the council, she saw the potential the organization had to grow and become a sound structure that the organizations could lean on. Working with colleagues in the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement, as well as with feedback from students, she developed the current positions of Student Organization Liaison, Programming Administrator, Finance Chair and Community Outreach Chair.

O’Neill believes by including various organizations to consult each other in their various affairs, learning ways to better themselves and grow together while being backed by one another is important.

“It is important that organizations continue to come together and talk about what is happening, find ways to collaborate with each other in different ways, as well as learn with and about what everyone is doing,” O’Neill said. “Having a common organization that works to promote inclusive excellence across the university community at the student level is key to the overall student success.”

The council is made up of four chairmen who work with one another to represent all organizations as well as a representative from each of the active 15 multicultural student organizations.

MSLC was initially created by the previous Director for Multicultural Education as a president’s council O’Neill said. Presidents from each of the organizations would come together during specific times throughout the year. They were able to share what was happening within their organization, ask questions of each other and gain valuable leadership skills that could be passed onto the other members.

The current structure that the council follows was introduced in September of 2017. The evolved version of the organization allows officers to participate in a minimum of three trainings/retreats a year, recognizing the purpose and history of the council’s beginnings.

“These organizations are unique and were founded as safe spaces for students of historically marginalized identities on predominantly white campuses,” O’Neill said. “Students who are members of the organization’s executive boards now have numerous opportunities to gain the skills necessary for leading not only a general organization, but also those specific to their organization(s).”

To kick off the year as an official student organization, the MSLC is hosting Multicultural Welcome Week taking place from Monday, Sept. 10 through Thursday, Sept. 13 to honor and promote traditional events and creative ideas the council has to offer.

“Multicultural Welcome Week has been designed to introduce the Quinnipiac Community to a variety of events that the MSLC organizations put on throughout the year as well as have a chance for students from all cohorts on campus to interact and get to know one another in a relaxed setting,” O’Neill said. “It is our goal that the organizations will not only be highlighted throughout this week, but that the community will also gain a better understanding for each organization and the value it has on campus. “

Three events will take place each day including a Culture Fair taking place on Friday, Sept. 14 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the Quad.

Events include a kick-off speaker on Monday, a suture clinic and game night on Tuesday, intersectionality, cupcakes and a coffee house on Wednesday, paint your canvas and a movie night Thursday and the culmination of the week, the Culture Fair, Friday. The Culture Fair will offer food trucks, inflatables, door prizes and more.

“All of the student organizations have been paired to put on events and while some were given a name and specific details,” O’Neill said. “Others were given the freedom to create a new event based on the organization(s) they were partnering with.”

Minority Association for Pre-Medical Students (MAPS), a new organization on campus, for example, has been looking to bring a suture clinic to campus. MSLC recognized this need to highlight the purpose of the club as well as other pre-health organizations on campus and decided to adopt the event into their week of events.

In regards to the chosen kick off speaker, Payton Head, O’Neill explained that they simply stumbled upon his profile in their search to find someone with a connection to the Quinnipiac community as well as experience in the topics they were looking to discuss.

“In speaking with the executive boards for ASA and ICS, we determined that he met what we were looking for and then some,” O’Neill said. “Since announcing this event, some students have recognized him from his activism efforts during everything that was happening at Missouri while he was a student, and overall we are very excited for what he has to offer to the Quinnipiac Campus, specifically during this week.”

Welcome Week is being officially sponsored by the 15 active MSLC organizations and the three Cultural Greek Organizations. Events will be ongoing from 8:00 a.m. Monday until 8:00 p.m. on Friday and all students are encourage to attend.

“Organizations cannot function alone; therefore, by coming together once a week to share what is happening, learn about other university initiatives, ask about other best practices that they can implement in their own organizations, and knowing they have the support of the multicultural student community behind them is important,” O’Neill said. “This Council gives faculty and staff as well as other student organizations, and students in general, a place to turn to if they know they are looking for something, but are not quite sure what that something is.”

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