The State College area has around 40,000 students, so trying to fit in on campus can seem almost impossible — especially for students of color at a predominantly white university.
The multicultural organizations on campus can be a place for marginalized students to feel more comfortable at Penn State.
There are currently 73 multicultural and international groups listed on Penn State’s OrgCentral website. These groups represent a diverse range of backgrounds and identities.
“We are here to bring awareness, to support minorities and African American students — and to make students feel like they are not alone,” Nichol Cherry, the vice president of Black Caucus, said. “We are here to just make sure everyone is equal and fair on campus.”
Black Caucus is an umbrella organization for other student organizations and minority students. The group was at the Involvement Fair to engage with new and returning students, and discuss upcoming events the organization will host.
Students hear about Black Caucus “mostly through word of mouth, the flyers we hand out and social media,” according to Cherry (senior-advertising).
Latino Caucus is another organization on campus that provides a sense of community for Latino students.
Tomás Sanchez, the president of Latino Caucus, stressed the importance of multicultural representation on campus.
“Multicultural organizations are crucial in the retention of students of color at University Park due to their ability to offer a safe space on a campus that is often not the most inclusive,” Sanchez (senior-political science and sociology) said via email. “Multicultural organizations like the Latino Caucus are also essential in advocating for marginalized communities to the Penn State administration regarding issues of diversity and inclusion on campus, as well as many other issues.”
Sanchez said students can learn more about Latino Caucus by visiting their meetings in the HUB-Robeson Center or checking out their social media pages.
Lawrence Qiu, the treasurer of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus, said multicultural groups can give students a “home away from home” on campus.
“You’ll be able to assimilate into the melting pot,” Qiu (junior-marketing) said. “One aspect of multicultural organizations is that you don’t have to have a unique background — being involved in our organization allows you to witness or touch a glimpse of another world.”
He added that the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Caucus acts as an umbrella organization for other Asian interest organizations.
To learn more about Penn State’s 73 listed multicultural organizations, students can visit OrgCentral’s website.