June 28, 2010
Through the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), twelve students and staff traveled to National Harbor, Maryland, to the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) June 1-5.
The Annual National Conference for Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) was launched in 1988 by the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies. The conference series is designed to provide a forum for discussion and critical dialogue as institutions, such as Rollins, seek effective strategies for positive communication and cross-cultural understanding in culturally diverse settings.
“NCORE is all about educating individuals about the issues of race and ethnicity in American higher education,” said Office of Multicultural Affairs graduate assistant Melanie Gnecco. “The Office of Multicultural Affairs is here to promote programs, services and resources to create and sustain a diverse community. NCORE is a vivid example of this ongoing mission. It opens the eyes of students, faculty and staff so that they can become more responsible leaders who work for a diverse and inclusive Rollins community, seek to improve racial and ethnic relations, and to have a more equitable community for learning for all. These participants bring their knowledge back to Rollins and seek to improve racial and ethnic relations and develop an equitable learning community for all.”
Rollins first participated in NCORE in 2008 and has continued to send student delegations each year since then. Most student participants are leaders of cultural or social activist student organizations on campus. These participants seek to implement the communication skills learned at NCORE to promote cultural understanding and tolerance at Rollins.
The students who attended NCORE will participate this academic year in a "Give Back" project, during which they will work in OMA 7-10 hours a week to implement their social justice related change agent projects for building an inclusive and diverse Rollins.
Special thanks to the Diversity Advisory Council and Jeff Eisenberth for their support and to Professor of Philosophy and Religion Yudit Greenberg and staff members from the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership for their participation.
Reflections of 2010 NCORE Participants:
“As a participant, I can say with immense gratitude that the conference was a life changing experience for me and my fellow students,” said 2010 NCORE delegate Bailey Robb (Class of 2011). “We were able to hear from some of the leading voices in social justice work in the country as well as debate several controversial topics that are a big part of the college experience in the 21st century. I personally was able to confront my own internalized prejudices in order to better understand the plight of students of color at a predominately white institution. I know that the knowledge and skills I have learned have made me a better person and will help me and my fellow delegates change the Rollins experience for minorities. This year's conference changed the way I view issues of race and ethnicity in the United States and on my college campus. I hope to facilitate more dialogues on campus about issues of race and ethnicity because the only way to do something about issues of racism is to talk openly with one another.” –Bailey Robb
“The fact of the matter is that we live in a system of race and all of us harbor stereotypes that we tap into whether consciously or not,” said 2010 NCORE delegate Anna Montoya (Class of 2013). “Colorblindness is not the solution. Being at NCORE and being able to hear people talk about their experiences was the greatest aspect of the whole conference. Through their honesty I began to understand social issues in a whole different way, from the people that they most directly affect. I strongly believe that our college campus should reflect what we as a community hope to get from our experience there. I will continue working closely with the Office of Multicultural Affairs over the course of the next year to ensure that all students have an equal chance of being heard. I hope to enrich our campus community by helping cultural organizations achieve more visibility for their programming and by working to create a safe space on campus where individuals and groups can peacefully come together.”
To learn more about the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, visit http://www.ncore.ou.edu/. For more information on Office of Multicultural Affairs’ initiatives, contact Mahjabeen Rafiuddin at Mrafiuddin@rollins.edu.
--Brittany Fornof (Class of 2011)