This year, the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ (OMA) annual multicultural retreat was hosted at the Radisson Hotel in Orlando. The group was comprised of 20 Rollins students and five group facilitators – Sam Barns ‘11’12MBA, Director of OMA Mahjabeen Rafiuddin, OMA intern Arti Bagga, Sarah Mills ‘12 and Danielle Cameron ‘14. The retreat covered the topic of multiculturalism, a concept that means relating to, consisting of, or participating in the cultures of different countries, ethnic groups, or religions. Multiculturalism and diversity were the mainstay topics of the retreat, posing the question: How we can make a difference in our community and on our campus?
What I saw that weekend was a group of people willing to make a difference by openly listening to what each person had to offer to the conversation about multiculturalism. The highlight of the weekend was watching the film titled For Colored Girls. Processing the film the next morning really made me aware of the struggle of women of color and women in general. I could hear the voices of women in my family and countless others saying:
Tell my story
Feel our pain
What I am taking away from Multicultural Retreat is a new awareness that my voice matters individually and also as a member of a group. In hindsight, the retreat sought to break down the negative association barriers that hinder open relationships. We came out with a newfound respect for each other and a hope to share the promise of multiculturalism to help keep our campus community moving in a positive direction.