What is the MRC?
Working together with a wide range of faculty, students, alumni, staff, and members of the local community, the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) is uniquely positioned to create a vision of diversity and multiculturalism that supports educational excellence. The MRC centers the academic and personal needs of historically underrepresented students, especially students of color, LGBTQ students, international, first generation, and lower income students. At the same time, the MRC also creates opportunities for the entire campus community to engage with intellectual discourses on diversity and inclusion and to develop critical thinking skills that are crucial for the educational experiences of all students. Whether you are looking for more information, resources, collaborative partners, or just a great place to hang out and meet people, we hope you'll make the MRC your first stop.
Who is welcome at the MRC?
The MRC is for everyone who is committed to working together to build a stronger and more socially just community at Oberlin College.
Does the MRC reach out to allies?
The MRC does a lot of work to reach out to, educate, support, and collaborate with allies. The support of allies is often crucial to the success of many of our efforts. Allies are welcome and encouraged to attend the more than 300 programs sponsored, cosponsored, or supported by the MRC each academic year. The MRC is currently undertaking a number of new initiatives around supporting existing allies and identifying and educating new allies. Among these initiatives is the development of an Ally 101 Training that will be designed primarily for students, but will be adaptable for faculty and staff as well. We also offer a resource pamphlet titled "Ally-ship and Safe Space."
Another recent priority has been to support student efforts around allyship. Some of the most interesting and successful work being done on diversity and multiculturalism at Oberlin College, especially around what it means to be a strong and effective ally, is being done by student allies. Some examples include: Antiracist Organizing and White Privilege ExCo; White Straight Male Identity: Analysis, Accountability and Activism ExCo; and OSCA's Committee on Privilege and Oppression (COPAO).
Does the MRC work on programming?
The MRC sponsors, cosponsors, and supports more than 300 academic, activist, social, and cultural events each academic year. This includes working with faculty, staff and especially students on 6-8 major programming series annually including the Indigenous Women's Series, My Name is My Own Series, Black History Celebration, Latino/a Heritage Month, Asian American Heritage Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Other recent examples of major MRC program collaborations are the Race and Resistance and Geographies of Displacement Symposia, Eli Clare's Comparative American Studies mini-course on Disability Studies, and speakers like Peter J. Gomes and bell hooks.
Does the MRC offer workshops and trainings around social justice issues?
An important function of the Multicultural Resource Center is to provide educational trainings and workshops for faculty, staff and students. In most cases, trainings and workshops are offered by request. This way we can carefully construct them to meet the specific needs of the given department, office, or group of students.
The MRC will often collaborate with other individuals and offices such as the Ombudsperson and Oberlin College Dialogue Center to provide workshops. We also sponsor and cosponsor workshops and trainings by invited leading academic/activist facilitators during the year. On average, the MRC has sponsored or cosponsored about 30 workshops and trainings a year.
How does the MRC connect with faculty and the curriculum at Oberlin?
Over the past five years, the MRC has expanded its role with formal classroom teaching. The Associate Dean of Academic Diversity and Director is also an Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences and has faculty appointments in three departments and programs. Three Community Coordinators collaboratively taught courses in Comparative American Studies (CAST), African American Studies (AAST), and the First-Year Seminar Program in the past two years (2008-2010). The MRC and CAST cosponsored a mini-course in Disability Studies, and in addition to annual programming the MRC collaborated with academic departments on the Race and Resistance Symposium (History and AAST) and the Geographies of Displacement Symposium (Creative Writing and Oberlin Shansi).
MRC Staff also serve on and, in the case of the director, chair a number of committees including the Committee on Equity and Diversity, Oberlin Shansi Board of Trustees, Association of Black Concerns, and the Oberlin Shansi Committee. MRC staff also gave more than a dozen lectures and talks at workshops, seminars, symposia, and conferences at Oberlin, nationally, and internationally during the past academic year.
Does the MRC reach out to communities beyond Oberlin?
The MRC has worked to more intentionally connect Oberlin students with local town and county communities/resources and vice versa. The Africana Host Family Program continues to be a solid program of great importance to the community. The Oberlin en Lorain initiative connects the Oberlin College and local Latino/Latina communities and LGBT students have worked as mentors, supporting local LGBT high school students and their allies. We also started a program last year that will take students on educational as well as social trips to events and resources in Cleveland this year.
The MRC also collaborated with Street Law, a youth organization in Oberlin, and Oberlin students to offer anti-bullying workshops in the local high school. The MRC also does a significant amount of work with alumni both on and away from campus especially around creating professional development opportunities for current students as well as with Admissions around the recruitment of prospective students.
Is the MRC a fun place?
The MRC can be about serious work and finding help/resources in a crisis, but it is also a really fun place to meet people and find a sense of community. We sponsor more than 50 social and community building events each year including: new and returning student receptions, weekly socials, special socials, prospective student open houses, study breaks, alumni gatherings, and commencement events. The MRC staff also prides itself on being highly visible members of the Oberlin College community. It is not unusual to see us together eating at Afrikan Heritage House or cheering at an athletic competition or taking in one of the many outstanding theater, dance, and music performances. So if you see us out and about, feel free to introduce yourself!
How can I get involved?
The best way to get involved is just to stop by and introduce yourself. We are located in 187 N. Professor St. and are always happy to welcome new students to the MRC. At any given moment, there are always a group of friendly students hanging out. If you are interested in a particular issue or have a specific concern, the MRC is always accessible to provide you with information, advice, and referrals to additional resources. A great way to keep up on happenings with the MRC is our weekly events email. The MRC sends out an events email once a week on Tuesday afternoons. The email contains valuable information on upcoming events, funding sources, jobs and internships, and local and national networking opportunities such as conferences and workshops. If you would like to be kept in the loop about what is going on as well as opportunities as they arise, please contact the MRC at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the weekly e-mail list.