Multicultural office renamed Intercultural

Daniel Greenman, Staff Writer

Since the Strategic Plan at Union College was released to the school last term, Union College has begun a five-year effort to reorganize itself in order to adapt to a changing job market, new trends in education and more.

Recently, signs of change are present at the Office of Intercultural Affairs, formerly the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which “works to engage Union’s community members in a number of innovative programs and initiatives which seek to develop cultural competency, religious fluency and global awareness.”

According to a campus events email sent out by Gretchel Hathaway, Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, on January 13, the name change is in order to “reflect [the office’s] commitment to building a welcoming learning and living community that is diverse, inclusive and equitable and emphasizes the ideals of our new Union College Strategic Plan”. The Office of Intercultural Affairs held an open house event in their room, Reamer 305, at common hour on January 17 for those interested. The Concordiensis reached out to Christa Grant, the new Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, and Director of Intercultural Affairs, for more on the change.

Grant says the name change was done to support the intentions laid out in the Union College Strategic Plan put out during the Fall term of this year, citing from the document a need for “developing every student to lead with wisdom, empathy and courage, in ways large and small, now and across multiple tomorrows.” Grant states that “with the rapid changes in our society, we need to increase opportunities for diverse cultures and people to work more closely on challenging issues. Intercultural emphasizes the intersectionalities we all have as individuals. Intercultural acknowledges the multiple identities we identify, it encourages us to learn, to interact with one another, to promote respect, enhance inclusion and cross-cultural understanding through relationship building. “

Grant also states that Union College has had the concept of new commitment in the Office of Intercultural affairs in development as an extension of its new priorities. These new goals will include offering engaging programs based on challenging topics, including working with student groups, interfaith programs and programs directed toward employees.

Grant says that under her direction, there will be “peer-led facilitated constructive engagement programs” for the Union community, as the office aims to engage, connect and challenge students, faculty and staff through purposeful education.

An example of such a change will be a peer-to-peer education program “that develops students to serve as facilitators of diversity, equity and inclusion programs on campus.”

The office also seeks to strengthen its working relationships with different campus departments and student organizations.

The Office of Intercultural Affairs also held the Unity March at common hour on January 20 at Nott Memorial, to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..