College of Liberal Arts News
Student initiative leads to opening of Mulitcultural Resource Center on campus
Willamette University is creating a welcoming and inclusive space for students of various identities this fall through the opening of a new Multicultural Resource Center.
“This really was a collaborative effort,” says Delia Olmos-Garcia ’14, one of several students who championed the center. “All four of us worked on a proposal and met with students, professors, alums and administration throughout the semester.”
Students Olmos-Garcia ’14, Bridget Hinton ’14, Humberto Marquez-Mendez ’14 and Natividad Zavala ’13 helped lay the foundation for the center, which aims to create dialogue and engagement on such topics as gender, ability, sexual identity, religion, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language and nationality.
Another advocate for the center was Margarita Gutierrez ’12, who promoted the idea last fall by publishing an opinion piece in the Collegian and brainstorming with a group of 30 students.
“During my freshman year at Willamette, conversations about creating a center at Willamette were hopeful but distant among those I considered my mentors,” Gutierrez says. “Now, it’s great to see that this center was the work and effort of many generations of Willamette students and staff.”
The Multicultural Resource Center will be located in what is now the Writing Center, which will move to a new location in Ford Hall.
Olmos-Garcia and other students will work this summer to find funding to sustain the space, but the plan is to have the center run on student work and involvement.
“The work of past and current Willamette students was acknowledged by the administration, and our efforts took us a step forward in addressing issues of diversity and inclusivity on campus,” Olmos-Garcia says. “We are looking forward to moving into our center and making the space what we dream it to be.”
PRAGDA group sponsors free, Spanish film series at Willamette next fall
Five new Spanish-language films will be showcased at Willamette University next fall, due to a grant from the PRAGDA organization.
The mission of the group, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., is to share Spanish-language films with diverse audiences. With the grant, assistant professor Anna Cox of the Spanish and film studies departments will debut a film series over a five-week period in Ford Hall.
The movies will be free and open to the public. The dates and times of the showings have yet to be announced.
“My goal is to draw large, diverse audiences from our students, faculty and staff on campus, as well as the Salem community," she says. "I want to engage in challenging yet meaningful discussions about the different Spanish and Latin American cultures portrayed on the screen and, at the same time, to reflect on our own cultures.”
The Spanish films address topics ranging from race and gender to immigration and sustainability. Cox says she's looking forward to the opportunity to think critically with others outside of the classroom.
“I am thrilled to collaborate with PRAGDA to spread recent Spanish-language films, especially since they address social issues that have affected us all in different ways around the world,” she says.