On Saturday, Sept. 25, Galloway was filled with leaders eager to begin building and collaborating with the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). These leaders were the executive board members of the cultural organizations on campus. There are now no fewer than 19 cultural organizations under the umbrella of OMA, more than ever before. Representatives from these organizations came together for a Cultural Organization Conference to learn from each other, build strength, and brainstorm ways to collaborate and promote. The day began with icebreakers (so that the members could get to know each other) and then a conversation about collaboration began. Michael Cardwell ‘13 attended the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity this past summer. As part of his return to OMA for sponsoring his attendance, he is going to help the cultural organizations correspond more effectively. He came up with the idea of a Cultural Organization Caucus (COC), a bi-weekly meeting where members of all the organizations can meet, share, collaborate and network. Members of the caucus will be called COC Representatives and will have a leadership role in their respective organizations. This idea was met with excitement by many of the organization leaders as their focus this year is building strength and collaboration. The idea sparked discussion about upcoming events and who would be willing to work together.
After lunch, a representative from the Office of Public Relations came to speak to the organizations about the different ways they may use R-Net to promote their events, like submitting R-Net stories and putting events on the R-Net calendar. The last event of the day was a brainstorming and action planning session surrounding the promotion and advertising of programming and events. Rollins students who have previously had this responsibility know that campus-wide e-mails are no longer available to students. Therefore, the representatives found new and interesting ways to get the word out around campus about events: from sign spinners to writing announcements in chalk to asking Tommy Tar to attend events. Because cultural organizations traditionally represent minority groups on campus, and there is a myth that a student must be a member of that minority group to be in the cultural organization, they have a much greater challenge of getting the word out. The action planning session was a good way for them to see where there were similarities and differences, strengths and areas to grow. Now that the organizations’ leaders know each other and have discussed ways to collaborate and help each other, networking will be much easier. Tonya Aaron ’13, vice president of the Black Student Union and an executive board member of Spectrum, commented, “I think it’s really important for cultural orgs to work together, because we already have a hard time getting out there. Students need to understand that diversity is for everyone, not just black students, Muslim students or gay students. Now that we’ve all met and action planned together, we can start making some changes.” Cultural organizations are still growing at Rollins, but the Cultural Organization Conference was a great way to help them flourish a little more and shine a little brighter