OMD serves as a safe place for minority students

Published by adviser, Author: Megan Bush - Rocket Contributor, Date: March 3, 2016
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The Office of Multicultural Development (OMD) serves as a force for positive interactions between cultures on Slippery Rock’s campus. It’s a place where minority students on campus can go to talk, discuss their feelings and to feel safe.

The mission of the OMD is to provide comprehensive development of all students through the promotion of global awareness, cultural competence and social responsibility. Included in the OMD are clubs and organizations such as RockOUT, Black Action Society (BAS), Student Organization of Latinos, Hispanic and Allies (SOL) and Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance (FMLA), to name a few.

Senior communication major and President of BAS, Yonshalae Powell said BAS strives to promote African American experiences on a predominately white campus, while serving as a support system for the African American community and encouraging students of all races and ethnicities to get involved.

Powell said BAS holds various social and educational events every year, such as their annual Homecoming party, the Ebony Ball, Pre-Kwanzaa and the Black Arts Festival. She said BAS also hosts cookouts at the beginning and end of every year, and that they’re always looking for and incorporating new ideas.

BAS meets biweekly on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. on the third floor of the Student Center, and their meetings typically consist of discussions about upcoming events or recent happenings in the media.

Powell also mentioned that there is a big misconception about those who are welcomed at BAS meetings and events. Many students believe that BAS is a black-only organization, and that is far from the truth, Powell said.

“All students are welcome,” Powell said. “It shows that someone is an ally and that they support us.”

RockOUT is the LGBTQIA++ organization on campus. Sophomore psychology major and information systems minor and President of RockOUT, Morgan Scott said RockOUT represents for all rights, including equality, gay rights and trans rights.

“We hope to promote a safe place on campus,” Scott said.

RockOUT hosts fun and educational events on campus, such as the annual Drag Show and various events during Pride Week every year, Scott said. Scott said that this semester, RockOUT will be involved with a Lavender Graduation event on campus hosted by GISO, the President’s Commission for Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation.

Scott also said that RockOUT is not only for members of the LGBTQIA++ community; straight allies are always welcome at any meeting or event. RockOUT currently meets every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in room 321 in the Student Center.

Yadira Lupian-Lua, senior public relations major and professional Spanish minor and president of SOL, said SOL works to spread awareness about culture, and is open to anyone who enjoys culture and is willing to learn.

SOL meets bi-weekly on Mondays at 6 p.m. in room 320 in the Student Center. Lupian-Lua said that the meetings usually start with an ice-breaker, then they discuss their upcoming events. SOL attends events hosted by other clubs, as well, as Lupian-Lua believes that clubs and organizations should “help one another by supporting one another.”

Lupian-Lua said that SOL aims to work as a team through collaboration and cooperation within the organization, as well as with other groups and clubs on campus. This semester, SOL is hosting an event called Cien Fuego, which Lupian-Lua described as a Latin-infused interactive art exhibit.

“I think it’s really important, especially for incoming freshmen, to be able to step away from their comfort zone,” Lupian-Lua said. “It’s good to feel a certain amount of discomfort, and students should embrace different types of environments and cultures.”

Sophomore secondary English education major and President of FMLA, Victoria Davis said FMLA is an alliance of feminists who work to promote gender equality and leadership of women on the Slippery Rock campus.

“Feminism is the belief that genders are equal,” Davis said. “We are not man-haters. We have men, we have women, we have students who identify as transgender. This is a place for everyone.”

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