The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Cultural and Resource Centers takeover campus to promote student representation

Erin Henze
Students gather on the quad to check out the different organizations present at the Cultural Student Organization Fest, one of the featured activities of the 2023 Multicultural Campus Takeover.

DePaul’s Cultural and Resource Centers hosted a Multicultural Campus Takeover where campus organizations showcased different cultures represented in the student body. The event was divided into three parts: the Cultural and Resource Centers’ Open House, the Cultural Student Org Fest and the Rooftop Skating Rink. Students were invited to visit different student organizations and check out the cultural foods served in the dining hall.

“It was so much better than what I expected and we met so many people from different cultures and different organizations,” said junior Cleva’nique Edwards.

The takeover began with the Open House in the Cultural and Resource Centers on the third floor of the O’Connell building. Students swiped into the hall and made their way toward the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center which provided boba tea. The Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Cultural Center to play games and win prizes. The Black Cultural Center (BCC) which hosted video game tournaments. The Latinx Cultural Center (LCC) to enjoy various foods like Mexican rice and Korean BBQ beef. 

“I’m really excited for new students and just new faces to come in the center and engage with our clubs and events that we have throughout the year,” said Amaya Korma, a student employee in the LGBTQIA+ resource center. “Getting the opportunity to work here was really just an opportunity for me to meet new people, create a community on campus, and [create] change with the work that I do.”

Music from different cultures welcomed students into each Cultural and Resource Center, where they could discover the each center’s resources.. Each room was decorated with art, flags, writing and historical pictures representing the cultures and people identifying with them. There were lists of resources and programs in each center, on and off campus for students of different backgrounds to promote both their personal and academic growth. The safe space and sense of community among students and staff was clear during the open house. 

“I’d rather be in [the BCC] than anywhere else,” sophomore Jamiah Pate said. “That’s where I feel the most comfortable versus being in the library or sitting outside.” 

The centers are organized and overseen by faculty program managers dedicated to making the spaces comfortable for students and giving them the necessary resources. Furniture around the space helped students make themselves comfortable, and each center has books and games for entertainment. Program advisers also work to host events like study sessions or panels on topics such as mental health or relationships. 

“These centers aim to be a physical space on campus for these student populations to decompress, relax [and] be in community with other students,” said Sabs Salvador, APIDA Center program manager. “When these opened my sophomore year [2018], I spent maybe half my time here. When I was looking for a full-time job, and this spot was open, I said, ‘this is the place that really helped me as a student and I want to give back that opportunity and create that space for other students.’” 

After the open house, cultural organizations and students went to the quad for the Cultural Student Org Fest. Movimiento Estudiantil de Solidaridad y Apoyo (MESA), a student organization, attended the fest to build community between Latinx students and teach non-Latinx people about their culture and its significance. 

“I think going forward this year, I’m definitely excited for [more] events,” said MESA’s event coordinator Elizabeth Gallegos.

Students also gravitated toward the African Student Association’s (ASA) table, an organization that President Enyioma Okereke said aims to make a safe space for African students to be themselves and have fun. Other organizations like DePaul’s United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA), the Women’s Center, Black sorority Sigma Gamma Rho and Latinx fraternities and sororities offered information about their place on campus. 

Two newer organizations, the Southwest Asian North African Student Association (SWANA) and Jews for Justice joined in. SWANA aims to promote community among students from regions classified as the Middle East and North Africa by embracing their cultural similarities and religious diversity. Jews for Justice works to create a space for Jewish people on campus focusing on culture and spirituality. Ezra Adamski, a board member for Jews for Justice, said the organization wants to focus more on being Jewish as a whole without centering Zionism.

The takeover ended at the Sheffield parking garage, where students lined up and put on their roller skates to hang out on the checkered rink. There were snacks, ice cream, glow sticks and music from DJ Scotty. Many organization leaders and cultural center employees shared their excitement for more promotion of the groups, collaborations with the university and increases in student turnout at meetings and events. 

“We’re going to try to have more events, have more people come out and have more participation with everyone else on campus,” Okereke said.

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