Cultural Conversation Comes To Residence Halls

The Department of Residence Life announced a new position in all residence halls on campus called “cultural liaison.” These individuals will be trained to embrace diversity within the residence halls, while at the same time creating a sense of togetherness for students who may struggle with cultural issues.

Liaisons must already be a resident assistant (RA).

Each liaison will be required to meet in a committee of other liasons once a month to communicate between themselves and their respective hall in regards to the programming efforts that Residence Life will plan. Cultural liaisons will also conduct their own research on the efforts other universities are making for similar causes — a celebration of diversity and cultural awareness.

Complex Director of Residence Life Sandy Pincay said the main goal of this cultural liaison position was to create a team dedicated to improving the atmosphere of living in the residence hall community.

“We wish to celebrate diversity and all cultural differences continuously rather than waiting for an unfortunate event to happen,” she said. “The residents will learn that there is a resource within their hall that will be properly trained for cultural or diverse issues. Residents will be able to enjoy the celebration of these designed programs.”

Originally from Taiwan, undeclared first-year student Angel Huang said she thinks the cultural liaison position is necessary to have in the residence halls because it will help students of different cultures stay true to their roots.

“There are hundreds of people living in the dorms on campus and not every one of them share the same culture,” she said.  “I believe it is important that the dorms acknowledge the different cultures that their residents may have and to share that with other residents. If a dormitory is supposed to be home to the college kids while they are studying here, they should have the opportunity to feel at home by celebrating the holidays of their culture or whatever else they are used to.”

Huang also said the position seems like a great way for interested students to get involved in the campus community.

“I think it would be great to have people specifically trained for this position to be in each dorm because this way the RA’s duty is reduced and it gives other people opportunities to hold a leadership position,” she said.

The Department of Residence Life believes the students chosen to be liaisons will be able to grow professionally with significant training and support from faculty. Pincay said this position will benefit the department as a whole as it is continuously making efforts to best serve the needs of campus residents.

Following the nomination process, residence directors looked at the following: a student must be an RA for at least one year and during that time established a comfortable and trusting relationship with their residents.

“This will be favorable for the type of programs and conversations we intend to have where sensitivity and trust is required,” Pincay said.

This position was initiated by Associate Vice President Raymond Schwarz with the support of Corinna Caracci and the Department of Residence Life. Further development will be made with the collaboration of faculty from designated departments.

About Kristen Warfield 72 Articles
Kristen is a fourth-year journalism major and editor-in-chief of The Oracle.