Multicultural students kick off year of diversity [The Badger Herald]

by Quinn Kampschroer, The Badger Herald

Hundreds of students attended the Multicultural Student Center’s 27th Multicultural Orientation Reception Friday, an event consisting of fairs, a multicultural showcase and a dance.

The evening’s theme was “Mind, Body and Soul: Making Every Experience Count,” to reflect the challenge “to make the very most of your experience here while you’re at this campus,” according to Candace McDowell, chair of the planning committee for the MCSC.

MCOR is MCSC’s annual welcoming event which helps target incoming students of color to show them the culture at the University of Wisconsin.

“It’s also an attempt to bring the entire university [together] to also get an idea of the cultural fabric of the campus,” McDowell said.

One of the highlights of the night was an opening address by Damon Williams, the new vice provost of diversity and climate.

Williams, who started his job at UW five weeks ago, impressed multiple students who were in attendance.

“[Williams’] speech was awesome,” said UW Senior Adom Hinkle, a member of Phi Beta Sigma and a frequent participant in MCSC events. “He was well-spoken. He had energy. He connected to us. He knew what we wanted to hear and started the program off really well.”

UW sophomore James Kasombo attended the showcase to get more involved in MCSC and the university in general, he said, adding he was impressed with Williams.

“It was amazing,” Kasombo said. “He integrated his past and his experience into what he wanted to bring to the university. … The students accepted him with open arms.”

A student organization fair followed the event showcasing as an opportunity for students to socialize and learn more about MCSC.

“It lets new students know there are many ways to connect to different cultures and lifestyles through these organizations,” said Ketan Patel, a UW sophomore involved with the Indian Students Association.

Many organizations, including fraternities, sororities and clubs affiliated with the MCSC, had set up stands with representatives.

Since 1981, when the first MCOR was held, the orientation has attracted more and more UW students and faculty every year and has gained a very sizable reputation on campus.

During that time, MCOR has helped new students by providing academic resources, cultural resources, accessibility to multicultural organizations and support to help ease students’ transitions into their respective academic careers.

“It is a great opportunity for students to socialize and get familiar with the university,” said UW senior Jonathan Martin, a house fellow in Sellery Residence Hall, who attended with residents and other house fellows.