Multicultural Welcome Week, which began last Wednesday, is an annual week-long event sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Activities. Events are held throughout the week by various student organizations.
According to Christopher Chell, an advisor for the week’s committee, the organization’s main objective is to acclimate incoming students to USF and its diversity, while providing them with a network and community where they can feel supported.
Student chairwoman Jane Alookaran said the week plays a big role in incoming freshmen’s experience.
“It exposes them to the multiculturalism of the University,” she said. “It also educates them on how different cultures are and how they function together.”
The week kicked off with the Freshman Move-In Assistance and Welcome Jam, both of which had a big turnout. For Freshman Move-In Assistance, students from ROTC and Multicultural Activities provided snacks and helped carry boxes for new students moving into dorms.
Meanwhile, in Martin Luther King Plaza, refreshments were served as radio station Wild 98.7 provided music. The event was designed for new students to meet new people and have fun, Welcome Jam coordinator Shivali Vyas said.
The Chat ‘n’ Chew was sponsored on Thursday by the Black Student Union and Dr. Samuel Lamar Wright Sr., director of Multicultural Affairs. The event was a discussion forum in which a panel of USF faculty spoke to students about the college experience. Among the faculty who spoke were Dr. Jose Hernandez, director of Diversity and Inclusion and Dr. Joan Holmes, interim assistant dean for Diverse Student Success. They advised students to stay focused and avoid the typical trouble that new students are apt to find.
Jennifer Ubiera, president of the Black Student Union, described the event as “very helpful.”
“It’s designed to help them succeed in all areas, not just academically,” she said.
An ice cream social was held Thursday by the Eternal Legendary Queens, a community service organization for women.
Today there will be several events, including an ice cream social hosted by the Muslim Students Association and Members Empowering True Awareness from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Marshall Center, room 106. A.N.G.E.L.S. Inc. will host their second annual international fashion show from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Marshall Center Ballroom. It will feature dress from different cultures, as well as food, music and dance.
Unity Soiree, an annual event hosted by the Office of Multicultural Activities, will be held tomorrow from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Castor Beach. Representatives from many student organizations will be present, along with music and free barbeque.
On Thursday, the USF Health Department, along with Area Health Education Center, will host a presentation from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Marshall Center room 106. Representatives will talk to students about pursuing careers in health.
Members Empowering True Awareness will host “Camp Out with META” on Thursday from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Castor Lawn. According to META President Emanuel Lucas, the event will allow incoming students to meet and mingle with members of the organization. S’mores will be served and stations will be set up throughout the lawn with background information about the import and export of specific snacks offered. Activities will follow that correlate with the refreshments.
On Friday, the Latin American Student Association, Salsa Club and Students of India Association will host “Salsa and Bhangra Night Out”. The event will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Marshall Center Ballroom. The final event, “Sak Pase,” will feature different genres of Haitian music. The event will be held from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., hosted by Club Creole at Campus View East.
Vyas encourages students to attend the week’s events.
“I would say, before school goes crazy, this is the week and a half to have fun,” she said.
She stressed that students should learn about all of the on-campus organizations because each one has a unique message. “Each culture has something to say to you,” she said.
Chell believes the Multicultural Welcome Week is one of the most valuable programs at the University because it immediately confronts students with the myriad cultures on campus and that USF prides itself on its diversity.
For more information, call the Office of Multicultural Activities at (813) 974-5111.