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Chemeketa’s Multicultural Student Services team

Kekeli Gbofu (front), a first-year computer science student, and Jacob Nix, a first-year general studies student, work on a homework project together in the Multicultural Center in Bldg. 2.

Kekeli Gbofu (front), a first-year computer science student, and Jacob Nix, a first-year general studies student, work on a homework project together in the Multicultural Center in Bldg. 2.

By Matthew Skog photo by Brad Bakke

Odds are that you’ve heard of the events organized by the students and staff of Chemeketa’s Multicultural Center.

Reoccurring offerings such as Intercultural Movie Nights, Pizza and Politics, and Evening Study Nights are all staples of the Chemeketa community.

But organizing the events is only a part of what the student-run Multicultural Student Services team does each term.

“What we do here is provide a welcoming place for all students where they can come and feel like they belong,” Maricruz Reyes, a member of the Multicultural Student Services Team, said.

Reyes is the leader of the Multicultural Student Services Team, which is the group responsible for organizing events.

“We provide different events to support and promote different cultural awareness,” she said.

“The Multicultural Center is an open place for people to come and share their culture and learn about other people’s cultures.”

Marcus Patterson, another member of the Multicultural Student Services Team, said that events such as the Multicultural Center’s Brown Bag Lectures are important because they foster a better understanding of other people’s points of view.

“These events are open to everyone,” he said. “It’s important to have a free give-and-take flow of ideas and information. I can better understand another person’s point if I can sit down and listen to them in a healthy, safe environment.

“And that’s what the Multicultural Center is: it’s a safe place for everybody.”

The Multicultural Student Services Team is always looking to adjust its offerings based on student interests.

“If something isn’t that interesting to students anymore, we’ll just take it off” the schedule, Reyes said. “It just depends on what students are interested in.”

Student involvement is important to the team members.

“I think that’s also why we’re here: to hear what students’ wants are, and then we can see what we can do for them,” Reyes said.

Marcus Meritt, another member of the Multicultural Student Services Team, said that once people come to the Multicultural Center, they can’t help but come back.

But first, students have to find it.

“You know, the funny thing is, because we’re kind of off-center from the main campus, a lot of people are unaware of us,” he said.

“But the people who find their way over here start becoming regulars. We have this environment where people just love it around here.”

Upcoming Student Services/Multicultural Center events include:

  • Indigenous People’s Day, from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 19 in the Student Center;
  • Intercultural Movie Night “Thunderheart,” 6 p.m. Nov. 20 in the Multicultural Center;
  • Pizza and Politics: Liberty in North Korea, from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 24 in the Multicultural Center;
  • Evening Study Nights, which run every Monday and Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m. in the Multicultural Center;
  • Multicultural Student Services/International Programs presents: An Arabic film “Sing Freedom,” 4 p.m. Nov. 21 in the Multicultural Center.

Reyes said that students should give Multicultural Center events a try.

“We are students ourselves,” Reyes said. “We understand that sometimes it’s hard to just attend something when you don’t know if it’ll be worth your time, because you could be doing other things.

“But I think it’s worth coming. It’s a chance to relax, enjoy, and meet new people.”

The Multicultural Center is located in Bldg. 2-177A.

The Multicultural Center is supported by the student leadership team. For more information, call 503-315-4262.

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