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April 11, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Multicultural Greek Council hosts panel on multiculturalism in campus organizations

The Multicultural Greek Council partnered with the Center of Leadership to present “Colors of a Falcon,” a discussion for student leaders on campus Wednesday night as a part of many scheduled events for leadership week.

Jeff Devereaux, President of the Multicultural Greek Council, addressed several issues and offered advice to student leaders on how to better integrate multiculturalism and foster inclusion in student organizations.

The discussion began by setting ground rules for students to participate in the discussion in order to create a safe environment to discuss the ways that students can incorporate multiculturalism. Afterward, Devereaux asked students what multiculturalism looks like in their organizations.

“Multiculturalism is never exclusive,” one student said. “In Undergraduate Student Government non-traditional students are even a culture. It isn’t just about race.”

Devereaux acknowledged that culture is perceived in a variety of ways and wanted to know how students invite multiculturalism into their personal lives.

“Acknowledging that not everyone is like myself,” answered another student. Devereaux agreed and said acknowledging others’ cultural differences is only the first step. Students must also try to understand other cultures and then emerge themselves in them.

Students were then asked to address what factors they thought hindered the growth of multiculturalism. Students had a variety of responses including stereotyping and ignorance. Deveraux presented an alternative view.

“Privilege affects multiculturalism. When a group, culture or community receives rights over another’s simply for being a part of that group that is privilege.” Devereaux said. “Minorities feel privilege. Those with it will believe that life just goes on that way.”

Inclusion is a way to combat the presence of privilege. Devereaux said that action-based inclusion is more effective than simply saying an organization is inclusive. Students brainstormed ideas on how to include others who belong to a variety of cultural groups.

“Begin by asking questions,” he said. “And it’s okay to say ‘I don’t understand!’ Listening is important too. You were given two ears and one mouth.”

Taking it a step further, Devereaux encouraged leaders to incorporate rules about what will not be tolerated in their organization. Revisiting governing documents and amending them will speak for an organization’s commitment to diversity and become a point of reference for those who violate that code.

Confronting injustice when a student violates another’s right to inclusion in the group is an educational opportunity.

“Explain why it’s not okay. Silence is only affirmation of the statement or action,” Devereaux said before reminding students that mistakes will be made. He offers advice by telling students they should acknowledge what they did or said that was harmful, apologize and learn from the experience.

“Don’t over apologize because that can be annoying, but do not ignore it. That sends the message that you don’t care,” Devereaux said.

Brook Scarborough, recruiter for the Environmental Activist Group, says that it’s important to have these discussions.

“We need to acknowledge that learning about multiculturalism is never ending,” Scarborough said. Alexa Busby from the World Student Association on campus said she liked the guided discussion and cited it as a nice way to learn.

The Center for Leadership co-sponsored the discussion and offers pre-planned programs and helps develop new ones for student organizations that request them.

“We cater and tailor workshops and retreats based on each organization,” Student Leadership Assistant Lauren Brunswick said. You can stay up to date with other events from the Center for Leadership by visiting them at the Get Involved Fair this Friday at 11 a.m. or by accessing their website at www.bgsu.edu/leadership.

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