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Where Heroes Connect to a Cause




But champions of diversity are braver, more rebellious than you, and they must have a lot more time on their hands, right?

HERE’S THE TRUTH: Every hero—every Gandhi, Mandela, Bono, and Lincoln—started out just like you. Just a person with a dream of a better world.

If you want to become that hero, there is a moment when your good intentions must give way to action. That pivotal, hero-making moment is the everyday mission of Rollins’ Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), which guides students, faculty, and staff in the celebration of diversity as well as in overcoming diversity’s obstacles: racism, intolerance, hatred, and apathy. “Rollins has so many amazing people who are dedicated to promoting inclusion and eliminating discrimination,” said Director of Multicultural Affairs Mahjabeen Rafiuddin. “These are people who imagine the world as they would like it to be and work to make it that way.” Although festivities like Bollywood Movie Night, the Chinese Moon Festival, and the popular soul-food dinners sponsored by the Black Student Union up the “fun factor” on campus, there is an element of serious activism at Rollins that is nothing short of heroic. “OMA is a laboratory for social and institutional change,” Rafiuddin said. “We are here to connect students, faculty, and staff to opportunities to make a difference in the world.”



Cherisse Hagood Massachusetts Major: Psychology Black Student Union, President

“There are so many questions people have and they’re afraid to ask because they don’t want to offend us. I encourage them to ask, to talk, to have a conversation. We’re all so different. We can learn from each other. I always stress that you don’t have to be black to join BSU. We actually want diversity in our group, to encourage that kind of open dialogue and connection.”

“Most of what we do is just hanging out and having fun, not constantly thinking about where we fit into racial groups. I see less and less separation between minorities and whites at Rollins.” • Delegate to the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, Washington, D.C. • Organized “Shadow Day” for dozens of Upward Bound high school students who spent a day shadowing a Rollins undergrad • Coordinates a soul-food dinner during Black History Month • Performs with the Rollins Dancers, including a special tribute dance for Martin Luther King Jr. Day • Member of the Caribbean Student Association

Ignorance is another word for opportunity.

Michael Barrett Florida Major: Environmental Studies & Sociology Multi-Ethnic Student Society, Co-Founder Interfaith Living Learning Community, Founding Member

"The organizations and topics I am motivated to work with are centered around improving relationships across boundaries that are usually socially constructed. For instance, I joined the Interfaith Living Learning Community to be part of what was, in my mind, an intriguing social experiment from which we would learn about ourselves and each other. We need a holistic understanding of the world and our part in it to guide us through what are going to be particularly interesting times. OMA's focus is always on both things— the big picture and the personal."

“It may seem small, but when you become involved with student organizations, the relationships and values you develop there will be like a wave extending outward to other people through the ages.”

In order to transform the world outside, you first need to know and transform your world inside.

• Work-study student for the Office of Multicultural Affairs • R-Journalist • Historian for the Multi-Ethnic Student Society • Founding member of the Interfaith Living Learning Community • Attended the Social Justice Training Institute and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity • Intern for the Farmworker Association of Florida, an organization dedicated to empowering farmworkers and rural poor communities


Kathryn Norsworthy Georgia Professor of Graduate Studies in Counseling Diversity Advisory Council, Founder Safe Zone, Co-Founder

“We must stand with people who hold minority or target identities, not in a paternalistic or patronizing way, but in true solidarity. White, middle- and upper-class, able-bodied, educated people have more social capital to get their points across than any other group. We must use that privilege to work side by side with those who don’t have that kind of social capital.”

“Whether I am working with groups in Burma or with students on campus, everyone is the teacher and everyone is the student. We are collaborative learners and so much wisdom arises out of the group.”

It’s crucial for students to see faculty in an activist role, as an agent for social change.”

• Faculty recipient of the 2010 President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion • Ally to the Apopka migrant and farmworker communities in collaboration with Sisters of Notre Dame/Hope Community Center • Leader in the Orlando Anti-discrimination Ordinance Committee (OADO), a Central Florida GLBT rights group • Social justice advocate and peace worker in Thailand with Muslim and Buddhist communities • Well known for her solidarity work with refugee communities of Burma seeking freedom and democracy

Ray Rogers Texas Career Services, Director Spectrum, Advisor

“Allies are critical to groups like Spectrum. About a third of our participants are sincere allies, marching with us in the gay pride parade even though they are not gay or lesbian or bi. They are activists joining a cause, not for a self-serving purpose, but because it’s the right thing to do. They see the value in standing up for people who are different from themselves.”

“I do not underestimate our students. They all have rich, complicated backgrounds and that informs what they do on campus and what they’ll do out in the world once they leave Rollins.” • Staff recipient of the 2010 President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion • Helped initiate and oversee the Johnson Family Foundation Scholarship, which funds student internships in Washington, D.C. at GLBT advocacy organizations

When you’re a gay college student, you always wonder just how out can I be, what environments are safe for me? Students need to know that there is someone here to ask, somewhere they can just be themselves.


Fatema Kermalli Pennsylvania Major: International Relations Minor: Jewish Studies Muslim Student Association, Co-President Society for a Just Peace in Palestine, President

“Growing up Muslim in America, you realize that most people are not against you, but they’re not going out of their way to get to know you or your culture. Apathy is usually the problem, not prejudice.”

“Right before the scheduled burning of the Qur’an in Gainesville, we organized a Qur’an hand-out on campus, working with the Jewish Student Union. Most people who had an opinion about it had never even read the Qur’an. You must learn to understand the other side if you are to have an effective debate.” • Helped to sponsor Variations on a Theme, a show by Rollins Improv Players about “misunderstanding,” with several Muslim story lines • Serves on the Interfaith Panel • Organizes topical forums, such as a debate about the mosque near Ground Zero, during which both an imam and a rabbi presented their views • Recipient of the prestigious David L. Boren Scholarship, which allowed her to study Arabic in Jordan for a year • Cornell Scholar • Member of the Honors Degree Program • Jewish Student Union • Opinions editor of The Sandspur • Instrumental in adding Arabic classes to the curriculum at Rollins

My view is that a college enriches a community just by being there. And having students of different faiths and ethnic backgrounds enriches the college just by being there.

Meghan Thomas Ohio Major: English Spectrum, President

“We don’t care who you are. No matter where you land on the spectrum of sexual identity or sexual orientation, you have a place with us. Even if you’re slightly homophobic, that’s okay too. Part of our mission is to educate.”

“The Office of Multicultural Affairs provides places where students can celebrate who they are.” • Named a 2011 Fulbright Scholar • Student recipient of the 2011 President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion • Intern for the Southern Education Foundation in Chattanooga, an organization that works to create equity in education in the South • President of the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta • Vice president of the Residence Hall Association and RA • Peer Mentor and student teacher • Writer for The Sandspur • Writing consultant for the Thomas Phillips Johnson Student Resource Center

Students are more willing to be visible now. Students are more willing to be allies to target groups. Gay and lesbian issues like bullying and samesex marriage and don’t-ask-don’t-tell are hot topics right now, so there is more involvement across the board.

“Connect to a cause at Rollins! Join our multicultural family and become part of a network of people committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both on and off campus.

Together we can help bring justice, peace, and a greater human bond to our community and the world.” —Mahjabeen Rafiuddin Director of Multicultural Affairs



American Indian Student Organization

Diversity Dialogues

Anthroscape Black Student Union (BSU)

Interfaith Living Learning Community and Interfaith Programs

Caribbean Student Association (CSA)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

Chinese Organization

Multicultural Retreat

Desi (Southeast Asian Students Association)

Lucy Cross Center for Women and Their Allies

Filipino Student Association (FSA) Spoken Words and Open Mic International Student Organization (ISO) Cultural Festivals Jewish Student Union (JSU) Jewish and Muslim Heritage-based Dinners Latin American Student Association (LASA) Pride Parades Middle Eastern Culture and Cuisine Association (MECCA)

National Conference on Race and Ethnicity

Multi-Ethnic Student Society (MESS) Muslim Student Association (MSA) Society for Just Peace in Palestine (SJP) Spectrum (LGBTQQIPA)

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to get involved with a cultural organization, please call 407-691-1240 or stop by and see us in Chase Hall.

Student Labor Action Project (SLAP) That’s So Asian, AASA (Asian American Student Association) Voices for Women (V4W)

Become that hero. Now is the moment for your good intentions to give way to action. The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is committed to building and promoting programs, services, and resources that serve to create and sustain a diverse community. A diverse community is one that is inclusive, welcoming, and respectful, in which each citizen values differences including race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, national origin, economic background, ability, age, and religion. At the same time, this diverse community affirms the central importance of our common humanity. In support of Rollins' commitment to a a pluralistic and equitable community for learning, OMA works collaboratively with faculty, staff, and students to create an experience rich in perspectives and opportunities to learn from each other and encourages each member to engage in positive social change to transform and sustain the local and global communities in which we live.

Rollins College Office of Multicultural Affairs 1000 Holt Avenue - 2793 Winter Park, FL 32789-4499 407-691-1240 • Fax: 407-691-1257

Rollins College Office of Multicultural Affairs Brochure  

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is committed to building and promoting programs, services, and resources that serve to create and...

Rollins College Office of Multicultural Affairs Brochure  

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is committed to building and promoting programs, services, and resources that serve to create and...