The Multicultural Initiatives Department at Salt Lake Community College puts their main focus on helping students from ethnic backgrounds who have unique challenges that come from having language barriers or from being the first in their family to attend college.
The primary goals are to provide programs and services that will help ethnic students feel welcome on campus as well as to provide opportunities for leadership and help students from diverse backgrounds develop skills needed for success.
“A lot of people don’t understand what it means to be a first generation student,” says Will ‘Unga, SLCC’s Multicultural Initiatives coordinator. “When they have a problem with anything college related, their parents can’t help them. That’s where we come in.”
In 2008, the Multicultural Initiatives Department started a pilot program called “The Conversation.” It started out as a group of 40 men and women from different sexual orientations, cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“’The Conversation’ could be about anything that members of the group wanted to talk about,” says ‘Unga. “For example, women from the Middle East enjoyed talking about the opportunity they had to speak their mind and to discuss religion and women’s rights.”
Since then the conversations have been broken up into topics such as Understanding Your Developing Mind, Effectively Managing Your Time in College, Building Elements of Esteem, Insight into Cultural Diversity and Managing Relationships in Dynamic Times. “The Conversation” takes place weekly on Wednesdays at South City Campus in the Alumni Room, room 1-147.
The next meeting will be held on Feb. 26 where students will discuss Insight into Cultural Diversity. On March 5, the discussion will be The Art of Conquering Debt. There will be no meetings on March 12 or March 19 because of Spring Break. The Conversation will resume on March 26 with Managing Relationships in Dynamic Times.
“We give emphasis to helping students who have language barriers or are first generations students,” says ‘Unga, “but if anyone walks through the door asking for help, I won’t send them away. Multicultural is a pretty broad term. It could include anyone.”
The Multicultural Initiatives Department also hosts other programs that support diversity and promote unity and understanding among students. It even has math tutoring at the South City Office in room 2-068 on Tuesdays 1:30-2:30 p.m., Wednesdays 3:35-5 p.m. and on Thursdays 3:10-4:30 p.m.
The Multicultural Initiatives Department also hosts the Career Advancement Program (CAP) and the Peer Action Leaders Program (PALS).
CAP helps students narrow down their career choices, so that they can decide on a path for their future career. CAP hosts guests who speak about what they learned on their way so that students can use that information to become successful.
Upcoming CAP speakers on South City Campus include Wesley Ruff, a broadcasting professional with ABC Channel 4 on Feb. 26, singer/songwriter Hema Heimuli Jr. on March 26 and Ellie Anders, a professional in technical theatre on April 23. Speakers at South City Campus will meet in the Alumni Room from 2 to 3 p.m.
CAP speakers scheduled at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus meet in the Student Center in Parlor A from 2 to 3 p.m. Guest speakers scheduled for that location include ‘Anapesi Ka’ili, the Executive Director of Mana Academy Charter School on Feb. 27, Franz Kolb, the Regional Director for International Trade and Diplomacy for the state of Utah on March 20, and Abbie Pierce, a SLCC student who is a member of the National Guard on April 24.
PALS is a student leadership/tuition waiver program that helps students build leadership skills and round out their educational experience.
The PALS program has several upcoming events, including a service project on March 4, a multicultural art exhibit on March 26 at the South City Campus in the Atrium and the “March to Music” concert series on March 30, also at the South City Campus in the Atrium.
The multicultural art exhibit is open to all SLCC students. If you would like to submit art for the display, contact ‘Unga at the Multicultural Initiatives Department in room 1-068 at the South City Campus on Monday-Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or the Taylorsville Redwood Office in room 236 in the Student Center on Thursdays from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. ‘Unga can be reached at (801) 957-3392 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.