Office of Multicultural Affairs ready for new semester


Wren Murphy, Diversity and Inclusion Reporter

The Multicultural Center kicked off the semester by inviting new students to a reception to meet people, have fun and learn about the SDSU’s diverse student population.

Members and officers of the Black Student Alliance and Latin American Student Association were there to greet the new students on Jan. 10. The welcome reception offered snacks, including SDSU ice cream, cake and trail mix and drinks.

“It’s just a great opportunity to have the veteran students [upperclassmen] to welcome and interact with newly-admitted students,” said Dr. Florencio Aranda III, an adviser for the Multicultural Center and the Latin American Students Association.

Aranda hopes the Multicultural Center can become a home away from home for some students.

“It’s a location where they [students] can feel regarded, valued, welcomed, a place that has individuals with similar backgrounds as them,” Aranda said.

Bryce Thompson, a sophomore majoring in natural resource law enforcement from Waconia, Minnesota, thinks attending these events can give students a new perspective. He believes these events are particularly important for people in his major.

“People have begun to question law enforcement and their reactions to different ethnicities,” Thompson said. “So, it’s important to diversify yourself and learn about people who are different from you.”

Lorena Diaz-Martinez, a sophomore majoring in fashion studies and retail merchandising from Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, also sees value in cultural events like the welcome reception.

“I’ve definitely gained more awareness of diversity not just of the area, but by other speakers who talk about how they’re viewed,” said Diaz-Martinez, who is also the treasurer of the Latin American Student Association. “I feel like we don’t have a lot of diversity here except international students, and I think it’s good for students to gain awareness.”

Akeah Aschmeller, a junior pre-med for mortuary science and psychology major from Sioux Falls, is the current president of the Black Student Alliance. She comes to the Multicultural Center because of the connections she has made there.

“My favorite part about the Multicultural Center is the people, whether it’s professors, advisers or other students,” Aschmeller said. “It gives people a sense of community and knowledge.”

Aschmeller feels diversity programming is supported by the campus but that there is more work to do.

“The community does come to a couple events, but it’s mostly the same people,” Aschmeller said. “People just need to come to our events. Yes, it’s the Midwest, but people need to see the diversity that is here and learn about it.”

For those looking to find community and education, the Multicultural Center is located in the Student Union’s basement and welcomes all students. The center offers programming throughout the year on a variety of topics.

“A lot of the programming we do at the Multicultural Center is educating all of SDSU about our cultures and our backgrounds, so our students always feel like an important part of the university,” Aranda said. “Our events are always for and about them, and it’s to highlight the beauty and richness that our cultures can share with the SDSU community.”

These events include movie nights, roundtables and performances like the annual BSA step show.