Multicultural Resource Center brings diversity and opportunities for students of all backgrounds
Appreciate diversity and be inclusive is the theme that the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) at the University at Albany.
Located in room 326 the third floor of the campus center the MRC is a place where students can learn different issues relating to social justice and diversity by supporting students of all backgrounds and cultural identities. The MRC is overseen by the Office of Multicultural Student Success within the division of Student Success.
Michelle Garcia, the coordinator of the multicultural resource center, and graduate assistant to Ekow King, director of the Office of Multicultural Student Success, says that the center is a fairly new department to the UAlbany community.
“The MRC was formed about five years ago and back then it was just a space where student groups would come and have their offices.” she said. Student groups that are affiliated to the MRC include the NAACP, Fuerza Latina, Pan Caribbean Association, and the African, Asain American, Chinese, Haitian, Iranian, Jamaican, Japanese, Muslim, Korean and Pakistani Student Associations.
Garcia said that although the MRC works with specific student groups that deal with multiculturalism and diversity, the MRC is open to working with different student organizations.
“The MRC focuses on working with certain groups because we try to emphasize a lot of multiculturalism and diversity and that is why we collaborate with cultural groups,” she said. “We are open to working with every one but multicultural groups are the ones we tend to work with.”
The MRC is not a group but a space where students can come and network with each other. The space can accommodate 10-20 people if set up accordingly.
There is also audio-video (AV) equipment available if student groups or individuals have a presentation they would like to share with others.
Apart from offering an outlet for students to come and network with each other, the MRC advises incoming students, transfers, and international students different student groups that are available on campus.
“We don’t want to be known only as a source of cultural awareness on campus, but we want to be a place where students can come and get information about how to get involved in campus,” Garcia said.
The MRC also has a council known as the Multicultural Student Advisory Council, or MSAC, which is made up of elected, emerging and appointed LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, Native American) student leaders on campus.
The council holds an annual retreat that is geared towards leaders, presidents and vice-presidents of student groups so they can participate in workshops that are designed to enhance knowledge and build the skills necessary to be effective leaders.
The center also hosts programs and events at least once a month. Previous programs that the center held include the Origins of Black History Month and Chinese New Year event. Aside from providing information regarding cultural events and multiculturalism, the MRC offers programming and one-on-one advisement to student groups and workshops that are designed to increase the intercultural competency and awareness on campus and throughout the Capital Region. They also offer assistance in promoting student group events through tabling and social networks.
However, there are requirements if a student group is to be co-sponsored by the MRC.
“We are all about inclusivity and cultural awareness, and other student groups should be able to collaborate with other student organizations if they are to receive our funding,” said Garcia. “We do this in part because we want students, and or student groups to be open to working with other people,” Garcia said.
The MRC also offers University at Albany students internships, work study programs and graduate assistant positions. We try to work with the students to see what they want to do and we try to work around their interests,” she said.
Moving forward, Garcia said that the “MRC is trying to expand and work with everyone because multiculturalism is not about specific races, genders or individuals but everyone globally.”
Check out the MRC on Facebook, Twitter and MyInvolvement for more information.