Multicultural Center student volunteers greet Poly Cultural Weekend attendees during Poly Cultural Weekend in 2017. Photo by Carla Pangan

Cross Cultural Centers Lead Coordinator Jose Leon is working to make memorable college experiences for Cal Poly students.

“Coming to college is an amazing experience if you’re building a community and connected,” Leon said. “Part of our responsibility in the MultiCultural Center is to do that for any student that comes through the doors here in the [Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU)].”

The MultiCultural Center (MCC) has a schedule packed with several events for students to attend spring quarter.

Polycultural Weekend

Prospective students can look forward to Poly Cultural Weekend, one of the major events the MCC has planned for Spring 2018. The MCC welcomes newly-admitted high school seniors and transfer students to this event.

“Other students may already know how to navigate simply because their parents went to college and had the opportunity to tell them, ‘Hey, look at this, talk to this individual, seek out this counselor,’” Leon said. “We put all these resources in a package for the event.”

PolyCultural Weekend will happen April 6 – 8. Prospective students who attend are housed overnight for these days. Throughout the weekend, students have access to informational sessions and workshops to answer any questions they might have about Cal Poly and the admissions process. PolyCultural weekend is also intended to promote diversity at Cal Poly.

Student of Color Summit

One event that has MCC coordinator Samantha Tran particularly excited is the Student of Color Summit (SOCS). 

The SOCS event will be held for the second time at Cal Poly May 19. This time, the theme is “Weaving a New Generation.” Cal Poly leaders designed this event to bring together students of color and build community on campus.

“The hope is that people will gain newfound motivation to spread knowledge from workshops and gatherings and find the courage to move others to become social justice advocates,” Tran said.

The event was created for underrepresented minorities, but Tran said allies are welcome as well. If students are interested in attending SOCS, links can be found to sign up on the MCC’s social media pages. The MCC is accepting workshop proposals for this event until March 23.

Southwest Asian North African Heritage Month

The MCC will also celebrate Southwest Asian North African (SWANA) Heritage month. At the beginning of April, the MCC is hosting Another Type of Groove, its monthly open mic event with a SWANA Heritage and Pride Month theme.

Tran says the event to look out for this month is the “racialization of the Muslim,” a talk and panel taking place on April 24.

State of Women Series

The State Of series will also make a return in spring with the State of Women event. The State Of series was designed to examine different marginalized communities and discover what each community faces. 

Leon says that anyone who identifies as a woman is welcome to the event.

“We want to make sure that all voices are heard that are in the identity group that are considered to be women and not be restrictive in that sense,” Leon said. “Sometimes people can do that. It doesn’t allow for inclusion and it doesn’t allow for the whole spectrum of experiences.”

Dialogue Series

The MCC’s Dialogue Series also continues into spring quarter. Due to the personal nature of what is shared in groups, these dialogues are usually restricted to students who align with those groups. Leon said if a student outside the group would like to sit in on a dialogue, they should ask the individual groups.

“Some of the groups have had the same composition for three or four years,” Leon said. “You could imagine after having that long-term relationship people can get very deep with what they’re sharing and the connections that they have.”

Talk About It Tuesday

Talk About It Tuesday is open to all Cal Poly students. Students share personal anecdotes and perspectives on a wide range of topics. One topic that students deliberated on last year was unrequited love.

These dialogues usually see an attendance of about 30 people. 

If any students are interested in learning more about what the MCC has to offer, Leon encourages them to check out the center’s Facebook page or walk into the center itself (UU 217).

With all these events and opportunities, Leon said the MCC enables change and progress in students’ lives. However, he said the impact of that change is not instantly seen.

“It’s not short term. It’s a lot of long-term work with people,” Leon said. “Our work is relational. It’s about people. It’s about reflection, conversation, and discussion, and that’s what I get excited about.”

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