In an effort to improve communication between cultural clubs on campus, Student Senate Diversity Chair Marissa Arrez teamed up with Director of the Center for Intercultural Life Tianna Cervantez to create the Multicultural Student Advisory Council.
According to Cervantez, the goal of the council is to find a way to help the Center for Intercultural Life and the Student Diversity Chair communicate and funnel information from the student body to the Student Senate as well as the administration.
“We’re hearing the same things from our cultural clubs and students on campus about a lack of collaboration and participation in a sense that we don’t support each other in what we’re doing,” Cervantez said.
The council will remedy the communication issues amongst clubs, organizations, Student Senate and the administration by advising the Student Senate Diversity Chair and Director for the Center of Intercultural Life regarding the multicultural experience at Knox. Cervantez mentioned that this could encompass programming, resources and challenges students may be facing on campus.
Cervantez has three clear goals she hopes the council will accomplish, which are based on the missions of other cultural organizations on campus. The first goal is to build cultural community, which can be accomplished by members of organizations attending meetings and events to create relationships to support students in their organizations.
The second goal is to provide the ability for multicultural students to address the needs and concerns specific to their experiences and funnel that information to Student Senate. Cervantez’s final goal is for the organization to hold at least one collaborative event per term.
“[The collaborative event] should be a larger topic, it’s not just ‘I want you to share my culture, so come to my house and we’re going to have food and we’re going to have games and fellowship,’” Cervantez said. “I want to see this council push our students and encourage them and empower them to think a little bit bigger and broader, so they’re addressing topics that are going to create change.”
Arrez reached out to eight cultural clubs on campus to take part in the council: Allied Blacks for Liberty and Equality, Lo Nuestro, Asian Student Association, Harambe, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A), International Club, Aaina and Filipino Club.
In the end, Arrez created the body of the council, which would consist of 12 seats, with at least one seat per club and four open seats for students who want to be involved in the Council but do not have time to be involved in a specific club. If there are new clubs created in the future or any language clubs decide they want to be apart of the council, Arrez said more seats would be added.
Co-President of M.E.Ch.A and senior Jos Guevara has already expressed his interest in the council and will be the representative for M.E.Ch.A. Guevara expressed his particular interest in having a space where multicultural students can communicate with each other over issues on campus and eventually bring those issues to Student Senate’s attention.
“It says a lot when Student Senate doesn’t take much of an effort in giving these organizations the space or avenue to reach other students,” Guevara said. “We’re trying to materialize a central space where all these voices can unite and find their partners within the issues that are being brought up and targeted on campus.”
The first council meeting was held on Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. to discuss the members’ roles, goals they want to accomplish and present issues on campus.