Building community and understanding among students is an essential part of the Student Life, empowering students to further their understanding of the world around them and to challenge their preconceptions.
The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs works to achieve this mission by engaging social justice issues through the lens of race and ethnicity with a wide variety of programs and partnerships. Jaimée Marsh, multicultural development program manager for MESA, emphasizes that the role of the office is two-fold.
“We work to not only help students succeed in the classroom and on campus, but to also look within themselves and engage in their broader communities to better develop a holistic sense of their identity,” Marsh says. “Our office is all about supporting student-driven programs and strengthening students’ capacity for intercultural leadership.”
From one-on-one advising with student groups to providing financial support for student programs, MESA is engaged in a wide spectrum of co-curricular activities targeted at showcasing the many unique experiences of students at U-M.
“Many students coming to the University of Michigan have never been part of such a socially and ethnically diverse community,” Marsh says. “Our office works to facilitate meaningful conversations within these different groups and to further empower the wider campus around issues of diversity and social justice.”
Among these activities is Taste of Culture – an annual event targeted at connecting new students to the programs and resources offered by MESA.
“Last year, despite the rain, we had 700 students attend,” Marsh said. “It’s our biggest event, though we also partner with about 75 student organizations each year to help accomplish our mission.”
This year’s Taste of Culture event will be held at the Trotter Multicultural Center on Washtenaw Avenue on Sunday, September 9, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Additionally, MESA offers many other programs for students, including peer mentoring, periodic luncheons that focus on different topics that impact students of color, and heritage month events that celebrate the rich culture and history of communities of color represented on campus.
– For more information about MESA or to get involved, visit the office’s website at http://mesa.umich.edu/.
To help the Student Life continue making a difference in students’ lives, please consider making a gift.