Multicultural Club In Transition

Lena Williams, Reporter

Multicultural club members say students are unaware of the group, and they hope to spread the word to increase student participation.

President Chiana Fladger said the club’s purpose is to offer opportunities for intercultural experiences on and off campus and spread the word about diversity and celebrate various cultures.

The club is also experiencing a leadership transition. Former advisor Maris Cabrera, who served as the university’s Multicultural Student Outreach coordinator, took a position at Delaware Valley University.     Communications Assistant  Professor Dan Kimbrough stepped in to temporarily fill the position.

Students said the university lost an important advocate for diversity.

“I was really able to relate with her, and she was an open safe space when I needed someone to talk to. When we would all pitch ideas to her for Multicultural club, she would make it happen,” said club secretary Illeana Santana.

Kimbrough said multicultural awareness, advocacy and education must continue.

“When I came to Misericordia there was very little done about cultural outreach on campus for students. I felt it was important to make sure that the club did not lose any momentum while in limbo between advisors,” said Kimbrough. “I know many of the students here on campus are very grateful for [my] taking on the responsibility to advise this club and not let it die down.”

The club held its first meeting in September to kick off a new year and inform new and returning members of the group’s goals.

“I joined the club so I can be more aware of, and accepting of, diversity and the differences in people,” said sophomore Leah Dixon.

Officers say their first goal is to provide students with information about pressing social concerns.

“I think an issue of the club is not making sure that everyone is aware of the social issues that are happening today,” said Fladger.

Officers say they are also concerned that many Caucasian students on  campus feel they cannot join because they do not belong to minority groups. Members say the club should represent  all cultures, and they have developed plans to make that happen.

Members say the first order of business is to create an open environment so students feel they are part of a community. Members say they are inclusive, and people of every race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class and sexual orientation are welcome.  They also plan to encourage  all people to act responsibly toward others and accept accountability for their words, actions and behaviors.

Members say the club values and promotes mutual respect, appreciation and acceptance of various identities. They say students must acknowledge  differences and respect and learn about them even if they do not understand or agree with them.

Officials have not yet formally scheduled events, but plans are in the works to organize fundraisers, trips and a service learning project. Last year members sold empanadas, a very popular Spanish appetizer,  for a fundraiser. Members also held a unity festival, brought in speakers for Hispanic heritage and Martin Luther King weeks and attended an NAACP dinner.

This club is open to all students, and meetings are held monthly. Interested students should contact Chiana Fladger at [email protected], or  email Ileana Santana at [email protected] or Chabely Espinal at [email protected]