Multicultural Programming Tips for RAs and Student Leaders


Be Creative:

Anyone can coordinate an "international potluck" so try doing something more specific... like International Breads. Find out the different ways bread is prepared around the world. Get recipes and cook together, and then invite others to sample it. Ask faculty to donate recipes, or invite them to participate... but don't forget to ask the secretaries and custodial staffs. They like food too!

Don't Make Assumptions:

Not all Latinos speak Spanish... so ask yourself do all Italians speak Italian? Making assumptions when planning an event will land you on the bad side of someone's good graces, if you assume you know what your residents/ participants want. Create a survey and hand it out on the floor at the beginning of the semester... for example find out what music your residents like, do they like to dance, does anyone have food allergies or is anyone a vegetarian of vegan. Vegetarians and vegans have rich cultural reasoning for their food choices! Learning from each other is what the residence life experience is all about!
If you want to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and your residents indicate they like rock music... how about hosting a Lenny Kravitz listening party!
Be willing to try again. If at first you don't succeed, TRY IT AGAIN! No person or program is perfect, but the fact you did your best puts you on the right track!

Be Prepared:

No event can be successful if you do not adequately prepare for it and allow for enough time. Your biggest resource will be preparation TIME. Posters work, of course, but a BUZZ passed along by your resident's word of mouth is better!

Multicultural Education is about committing to the journey, not the destination. No program will ever be able to "make" anyone value and understand diversity if that's not what they want to do. Set small goals. If a resident learns one thing from an event you coordinated, then CELEBRATE!!

Better one thing than NOTHING!!