Rollins College

A Touch of Multiculturalism Does The College Experience Good

Written by: Kerem Rivera
April 1, 2010

Everyone is different.  We each have a different story to tell and we come from a wide range of cities, countries, families, cultures, and economic backgrounds.  I’ve noticed that many of the discussions I’ve had in class and many of the events I’ve attended these past few weeks have focused on the differences among us.  In my nutrition class I learned about the eating of clay, a normal and important part of the culinary systems of many cultural groups, such as Southern African American women.  Different groups of people add certain types of clay to foods that would otherwise be harmful.  It is our misunderstandings about other cultural practices that oftentimes make us jump to conclusions.  In my classics course I learned that the Romans integrated many foreign religious customs into their own as they were conquering the Mediterranean and allowed those being conquered to retain many of their cultural and religious practices.
I also had the opportunity to engage in multicultural dialogue outside the classroom.  Hillel and the Multi-Ethnic Student Society (MESS) student organizations that are part of the Office of Multicultural Affairs collaborated in bringing together a panel of religious leaders in the Orlando community to talk about interreligious issues.  Students discussed different issues ranging from the way religion is perceived on campus to interreligious relationships and marriages.  I also had the opportunity to attend a showing of the Vagina Monologues, which was put on by another organization under the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Voices for Women.  The group raised $1,441 by selling tickets to their show.  The money will benefit Harbor House, a shelter that offers 24-hour hotlines and a counseling and emotional support center for victims of domestic violence and their children.  The funds will also support V-Day.org, an organization dedicated to stopping violence against women and girls.  The monologues were performed by Rollins female students.  All of the monologues relate to the vagina.  Topics discussed include sex, rape, menstruation, masturbation, birth and orgasm. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and would recommend that every incoming student attend next year.
After the monologues, the cast and members of Voices for Women took a breather before convening with other faculty, staff, students and community members in front of the Mills building, in anticipation of the Take Back the Night March.  Take Back the Night is an international march that is held to promote awareness and protest against rape and sexual violence.  Along with marching, the group chanted and taped signs up to further promote their cause.  After the march, the group convened in front of the Mills building to share their experience with sexual violence.  I enjoyed the evening and learned a lot about different perspectives and the purpose and premise of the feminist movement.
In addition to all these fabulous events, I’ve been busy getting ready for several exams, projects and papers due within the next two weeks.  I’m grateful for my multicultural experiences these past few weeks.

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Read more about... Kerem:

Kerem Rivera is a senior completing her major in Anthropology. She has been heavily involved with numerous student organizations, including the Asian American Student Association, Rollins College Dance Marathon, and the Rollins Farm Worker Awareness Club. One of the most memorable experiences she had at Rollins was taking a trip to New Orleans to aid Hurricane Katrina victims. The trip was planned by Rollins Relief, an organization dedicated to assisting those affected by natural disasters. She is currently working for the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Residential Life. Kerem enjoys spending time with friends and listening to music.

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