Multicultural Student Life (MSL) is dedicated to promoting a welcoming and inclusive campus environment while advocating for traditionally marginalized students by providing academic support, multicultural education, identity exploration, leadership development, and diverse and innovative programming through collaborative partnerships. We strive to assist in the retention and graduation of students who are empowered to positively impact a global society.
MSL offers a variety of programs that bring in notable personalities in the arts, politics, activism, and sciences for the enrichment of the students, staff, and local community, as well as countless opportunities, to get involved and receive support.
Ronni Williams, an assistant director of Multicultural Student Life, described the office as “a space that serves as a resource and place for students to find their home-away-from-home during their time at UTK. Multicultural Student Life provides students an opportunity to find community, academic resources, leadership development, and connectedness through intentional programming, support of student organizations, mentorship, and more. We want to actively demonstrate to students that everyone in our campus community matters and belongs at UTK.”
Multicultural Student Life has been an integral part of the university for over 40 years and stands as a testament to the university’s commitment to diversity and appreciation of differences in its student, faculty, and staff populations.
Join the Multicultural Mentoring Program (MMP)
The MMP provides personal support, assistance, social guidance, and positive campus survival skills to first-year students of color by developing activities and interactions with upper-division students to address personal needs, thus contributing to their academic success, and enhancing UT’s efforts in recruiting, retaining, and graduating students of color.
The MMP mentor will help you succeed in your first year by strategic and consistent contact, and by providing you with personal and professional enrichment opportunities Your MMP mentor will act as a referral agent for academic support services available at UT. You and your mentor will be encouraged to attend programs in which you can create a deeper connection to the university and form new friendships.
“Honestly MSL has really opened up opportunities for me to explore and take part in conversations and communities that I don’t find anywhere else on campus,” says Ben Chumney, MMP mentor and Diversity Educator. “Through my time with MMP and Diversity Educators, I have met many incredible people and had the opportunity to engage in dialogue across campus about things that are important to me, especially relating to social justice, diversity & inclusivity. MSL has given me hope for change in our campus community through all its members, the organizations they foster, and the programs they hold. It is by far my favorite place on campus, and I always know I have a second home in their office!”
Diversity and Multicultural Education
Multicultural Student Life has multiple educational opportunities to learn more about diversity, equity, identity, and inclusion. Diversity Educators are a student group that leads peer-to-peer workshops on identity exploration, navigating difficult dialogue, community building, diversity, equity, and inclusion. These student leaders are selected through an interview process and take a semester-long training course, PSYC 382. All that are interested are encouraged to apply!
Multicultural Student Life also supports NCBI, National Coalition Building Institute, which is a group comprised of graduate students, staff, and faculty that lead workshops for staff, faculty, and students on campus around diversity, equity, inclusion, and identity. As an office, MSL also supports our campus by hosting an annual Diversity Dialogue Symposium that gives students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to come together and learn more about issues and topics impacting our community, society, and global world. Our goal is to continuously educate our campus about various lived identities, how those intersect, and how to be able to communicate and build relationships with everyone who calls our campus a home.
Get Involved and Find Community
Multicultural Student Life advises and supports a variety of student organizations dedicated to celebrating, advocating for, and supporting marginalized communities. Organizations such as Latin American Student Organization (LASO) and the Asian American Association (AAA) provide spaces for students to build relationships, share their culture and traditions, and bring awareness to diversity across campus. These organizations meet weekly throughout the semester and coordinate different programs such as social issue discussions, game nights, and local restaurant outings.
“LASO has made this campus feel like my home away from home,” says Itzanami Sotelo, president of LASO. “It’s where I have made so many of my favorite memories and have met the best people.” While these organizations are culturally based, any student regardless of identity is welcome to join.
MSL also provides organizations focused on the empowerment of men and women of color. Sophisticated Queens Unafraid and Driven (SQUAD) and Brothers United Excellence (BUE) create support networks for men and women of color seeking professional development, leadership growth. identity exploration. Both SQUAD and BUE engage in a Women’s Empowerment Summit and a Men of Color Empowerment Day respectively, focusing on intersectionality, resiliency, and community building.