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THE SPRINGHILLIAN

8

LIFESTYLE

October 23, 2014

Multicultural Student Union Members Discuss
the Importance of Diversity on Campus
By Shaunicy Muhammad
Reporter

On Oct. 28, the college will begin
a series of race dialogues based on
the film “Mobile: Black and White.”
The dialogues will serve as a venue
for students, faculty, and residents
of Mobile to discuss race relations
and to talk about their own personal experiences. Spring Hill College
has had a long and storied history
within the racial debate that has
long plagued American society.
Perhaps the most notable was the
mention of Spring Hill in Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from
Birmingham Jail,” in which he
applauded the efforts of the college toward integration at a time
when segregation between blacks
and whites was the social norm.
Since then, the college has seen the
introduction of various outlets and
events encouraging multicultural
kinship among students. The Multicultural Student Union was created
“to support community kinship,
fellowship, and serve as the bond
that holds together the multicultural
community,” said sophomore and
MSU member Jamal Encalade.
Encalade and fellow SHC student, senior Lakittreal Campbell,
talked about their roles in the
organization and the importance of
diversity on college campuses.
“Diversity is essential to all college
experiences, especially for students
receiving a Jesuit, liberal arts education because it is essential to the
Jesuit mission,” said Encalade. He
continued by saying that the college’s mission statement is “important in the promotion of multicultural acceptance.”
Campbell, vice president of MSU, said that
opening her perspectives
was one of the main
reasons she joined the
organization. “I wanted
to learn about the different cultures at Spring
Hill. I also wanted to
be a part of a group that
tries to bring different
people from different
backgrounds together,”
she said.
Although both members were enthusiastic
about the purpose of
the group, they said that
reaching out to students
can sometime prove to be

very hard. “It can be extremely difficult when students are unaware
of the organization and its purpose.
However we have undergone some
major changes that we hope will
alter students’ perspectives of us,”
said Encalade, the Public Relations/
Advertising Chair of the organization.
A communications major with
a minor in sociology, Encalade
stressed the traditions of the college that the organization wants to
uphold. “Spring Hill College has
always been a progressive institution as it relates to the integration
of cultures. We want to build on the
foundation of our school’s progressive history by ushering in a new
era of cultural acceptance,” he said.
In attempts to keep those conventions going, Campbell says that
MSU strives to inform students
about different cultures through fun
activities and events. One of those
events is the Mobile International
Food Festival. “We try to bring
the Spring Hill community diverse
activities so that no one is left out,”
she said.
It is this effort toward culturally
inclusive interactions that Encalade
said makes MSU a unique organization. “I joined MSU because I
believe it’s one of the few organizations on campus that specifically
targets an often underrepresented
population of the student body. By
joining MSU, I hoped that I could
be a part of a movement to increase
cultural competence, as well as
create events that could tether other

students to the Spring Hill community,” he said.
In regards to upcoming events,
Campbell said that group members
are continually coming up with
fresh ideas. She also said that one
of her personal missions was to
educate students on culture by making it less intimidating. “Diversity
is important in college because it
teaches people that not everyone is
the same. It gives people a chance

to really get to know how different
people would do things, instead of
just going off of what you read or
see in the media,” she explained.
Encalade felt that one of the main
objectives of the organization was to
represent the students. He stressed
that the group was attempting to
expand its presence on campus.
They pledged that their efforts will
continue, in connection with the
efforts of the college toward cultural
appreciation and knowledge. He
said, “Our curriculum is designed
to increase our exposure to various aspects of different cultures,
and it helps with to lower ethnocentrism. We want students to
know that we are recommitting
ourselves to exposing the Spring
Hill community to cultural differences through programming that
can be entertaining, beneficial
and respectful.”

Photo courtesy of the Multicultural
Student Union