Nov 172005
Authors: Skylar Rick

The 12th annual Multicultural Leadership Retreat enables students to not only discuss multicultural issues, but also take action to make a difference in the CSU community.

"[This year] we're going to focus on social change and justice," said Alexis Kanda-Olmstead, assistant director of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement. "We are going to try to understand multicultural issues and then come up with a plan that can be put into action."

The retreat will be held Jan. 13 at CSU and the 14 and 15 at Highlands Park. Approximately 50 students will attend.

"We always encouraged [the students] to take the lessons they learn and apply them to their life," Kanda-Olmstead said. "Now, its let's think of tangible projects [we can do]."

The "action-oriented" program will be held the last day, after the other programs designed to help students get a better understanding of what it is like to be from another culture.

"The students will go through simulations like 'the game of life' where the students will be assigned different roles and then act them out," she said. "Then they will try to do things like buy something, like a house, and different things happen like if the character you were given didn't speak English, they would be given a piece of paper where you didn't understand all the words."

After every program, students will "debrief" to express their feelings about their experience.

"[The debriefings] will give the students an opportunity to discuss their experiences and feelings," said Keith Lopez, member of the Multicultural Retreat Steering Committee. "Part of the retreat is from learning around you and this is a way to do this."

It is from these discussions that there is hope students will create a plan to help with the multicultural issues.

"It is hard to learn something and then not do anything about it," Kanda-Olmstead said. "Most social change comes from students. We hope to provide the students with seed money so they can have a budget to help them make the plan work."

Students are equally as excited as those holding the retreat because of the opportunity to make a change and help solve multicultural issues.

"It's so great that we will not only have the ability to address these issues, but to also come up with a way to possible create a solution to them," said Kelly Dalgetty, freshman biochemistry major.

For more information on attending the retreat, an informational meeting will be held 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 30 in the Lory Student Center art room.

"Anyone is able to go, it's the diversity that makes this retreat what it is," Lopez said.


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