The Annual OMA Multicultural Retreat
aims to establish relationships amongst students of diverse identities. Students learn to identify areas of privilege, power, and oppression via open dialogues around these issues on our campus. OMA staff organizers collaborate with faculty/staff who are interested in getting social advocacy in motion. Faculty and staff can nominate students to attend the annual multicultural retreat.
The retreat brings together a very diverse group of people, representing different race, ethnicities, language, political beliefs, socioeconomic statuses, religious beliefs and sexual orientations amongst other identities. This experience is incredibly rich as students begin to share their own stories and experiences. The students are genuine and authentic with one another allowing for each of them to ask questions, disagree, or even simply admit to not knowing.
In addition to being a truly unifying experience for the group, student participants engage in powerful conversations that examine their individual identities and the concept of privilege vs. oppression. We hold conversation around the ideas of labels that society gives us versus the contexts are life truly provide. How we can begin to better understand each others contexts and not simply judge on the basis of labels. Participants also work through concepts of social “norming” and how they make us feel like we have to be people that we are not. The conversations continuously challenge student participants to evaluate themselves and how society perpetuates stereotypes and labels. Ultimately student participants learn tools and skills to challenge the systems of oppression and build/promote activism around campus.