Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs gains new adviser, Chicanos In Action changes name

Marleen Rodriguez

Marleen Rodriguez

With the beginning of each fall semester, changes are sure to come as new students attend college for the first time and additional faculty members join the campus.

SDSU’s Office of Multi-Cultural Affairs is no exception.

Nashma Carrera, OMA’s Multi-Cultural Affairs program adviser, is one new face that occupies the offices this semester. A graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Carrera received master’s and doctoral degrees in ethnomusicology and Latin American studies. She was raised in Florida, as well as in her native Puerto Rico.

Carrera comes from a family of musicians, which deeply influenced her fields of study in graduate school. At a young age, she was exposed to folk music and developed an affinity for dancing. She has participated in several dance groups such as Batey, a Mexican folk ballet group as well as Aconcagua, a mainly Andes music folk group. When she lived in Chicago, Carrera explored Flamenco, Bangra, Bomba and Afro-Cuban beats when she worked for Old Town School of Folk Music.

Raised deeply rooted in culture, Carrera was heavily influenced by diversity and the multi-cultural city life while she lived in Chicago. The city proved to be a source of inspiration, one that she plans to integrate into the cultural programs for OMA.

Amongst her many ambitions to create engaging programs, Carrera hopes to introduce a program called the Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative that would combine spoken word, folk music, visual arts and film to enrich and promote cultural awareness through SDSU students’ vision.

“I feel that culture and identity go along, without culture, you don’t define your identity,” said Carrera.

The idea for the arts initiative came to Carrera after working as the programmer for the First Wave Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative Project for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An effort like this would create an all-inclusive community based cultural artistic outlet where students could share diversity instead of segregating cultures, an aspect of the city life Carrera witnessed while living in Chicago.

Carrera also plans to establish a speaker series, as well as La Peña music series that would feature mainly Latino folk music and modern music. Her immediate agenda is focused on creating cultural events, and providing advisement to students involved in the Peer Mentoring Program, international students, Black Student Alliance and members of the Latin American Student Association.

The Latin American Student Association is making an appearance for the first time at SDSU. Previously known as Chicanos in Action, the club officially changed its name to LASA.

In collaboration with adviser Carrera, members of the group agreed on the name change due to the growing Latino population on campus. The word “Chicano” catered strictly to the Mexican community and limited other Latinos from forming part of the club.

“The intent is to create a sense of community and appeal to Pan-Americans and all others interested who wish to participate in planning, learning and developing a better understanding of the Hispanic/Latino culture,” said vice-president of the former CIA, Christopher Morales.

“It’s important to not only maintain our identity but also to share our culture with others,” added CIA secretary Bianca Rodriguez.

The club’s first meeting and officer elections took place on Sept. 15, and it plans to meet monthly. The agenda for the fall semester includes planning prospective speakers, musicians/performers, dance workshops, and promoting OMA’s sponsored events, such as the one that is set to take place on Thursday, Sept. 17.

Maria Reyes, part of the Freedom Writers movement, will be speaking in the Campanile Room 169A/B at 7 p.m. in The Union about how she became a Freedom Writer and the importance for instructors to give students a second chance.

All students are welcome to attend the event, as well as LASA’s future meetings. For more information, contact Carrera at [email protected].

Guest Speaker: Maria Reyes

7 p.m., The Union Campanile Room 169A/B

Reyes is part of the Freedom Writers movement, about which a movie of the same name, partially based on her experiences, was released in early 2007. She travels to schools around the United States as an inspirational speaker.

#1.881518:3064763773.jpg:IMG_2989.1.jpg:Multi Cultural Affairs adviser Nashma Carrera councils a Columbian student looking at coming to SDSU for graduate school.:Marleen Rodriguez