Syracuse UniversityOffice of Multicultural Affairs

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Learning Communities

About the Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC)

The Mission Statement

We, a multicultured, united band of Syracuse University, wish to declare our charter. It is our sincere intention to involve cohesiveness among ourselves and to welcome all of those interested in our endeavors on the Syracuse University campus.

The Multicultural Living/Learning Center proposed herein would aid in our facilitation. As a pilot program, we suggest that it be housed in a residence hall in order to nurture the spirit and growth:

of utility . . . not novelty
of enthusiasm . . . not reluctance
of pride . . . not arrogance
of inquisitiveness . . . not prejudice
of enlightenment . . . not ignorance
of camaraderie to blossom . . . not division
of life . . . not disillusionment
of each other and to you.

The Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC) is the only community of its kind on campus in which a racially and ethnically diverse community is intentionally created so that residents may live and learn in a multicultural environment. The MLLC promotes positive citizenship and social justice through its emphasis on critical multicultural education, self awareness, cross-cultural communication training, and commitment to community activism. The MLLC is a collaborative initiative between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Residence Life.

Students participating in the MLLC are required to:

  • Enroll in LAS 300: Living in a Diverse Society
  • Attend a weekly Multicultural Competency Seminar
  • Attend a team- and skills-building retreat
  • Participate in at least one MLLC signature program such as MLLC Speaks newsletter or Affinity Groups in the city of Syracuse)

  1. Learning Objectives

    1. To help students better understand their personal and ethnic identities
    2. To guide students toward more accurate information and awareness of the interconnectedness of identities especially with respect to the history, contributions, and experiences of the African-American, Latino, Asian-American, Native-American, and Jewish peoples
    3. To teach students the basic skill of anti-oppression work
    4. To encourage students to apply the insight, knowledge, and skills acquired through this course in other arenas.

    Goals of the Academic Course

    LAS 300 seeks to provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to explore their own ethnic and racial identities and set the stage for building alliances across identities by introducing strategies to students to link academic experiences with residential and other co-curricular activities. The course will include a visiting lecture series, a calendar of diverse events and celebrations, peer advising, and facilitated discussions on different forms of oppression students may experience as well as techniques to counter oppression.

    Relevant Topics to be Discussed in Class

    • Intercultural communication and cross group challenges
    • The ways in which oppression plays out in the broader context
    • Ethnic identity vs. race and the other facets of the word, “multicultural”
    • Where I am personally, where I need to be, and how I get there
    • All-building cross identity
    • Translating commitment into action
    • Impacting the previous generation’s biases
  2. History

    In 1994, eight students approached the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Student Activities with the idea of creating a unique residential living experience at Syracuse University where students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds would learn about their diverse cultural backgrounds as well as skills that would help them facilitate discussions on campus about multiculturalism and the impact of race on identity and life experiences. They named this residential experience, Multicultural Living/Learning Center.

    Over the course of the following year, a proposal was submitted to Barry L. Wells, then Vice President of Student Affairs and the Dean of Student Relations. Their proposal was further developed to include an academic component which would require residents to take a course on multiculturalism so they could learn about the history and racialized life experiences of African-American, Latino, Asian American, and Native Americans, and Jewish Americans. Jewish and/or White students interested and committed to understanding the histories, experiences, struggles, and contributions of these communities were also encouraged to participate in this experience to develop informed empathy and serve as allies to communities of color.

    The proposal to establish the MLLC came at a time in Syracuse University’s history (2000-2001) during which campus administrators were attempting to challenge the institutionalized pattern of segregated living by breaking with tradition and randomizing housing assignments for first-year students. In addition, the forming of the MLLC symbolized the successful collaboration between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs to enhance the holistic learning experience of students.

    Founding Authors

    The initial proposal for the MLLC was written April 26, 1996 by the following authors:

    Amnat Chittaphong, ‘98, (ASIA)
    Andrew Davidson, ‘96 (SGA)
    Michael Elmore, ‘99 (Student Activities)
    Xavier Fontan, ‘99 (SGA)
    Brenda McKenna, ‘98 (NASSU)
    Rebecca Rosental, ‘99
    Miguel Rosero, ‘98
    Jamal Wright, ’98 (NAACP)
    Man Yi Wong, ’98
    Irma Almirall Padamsee (OMA)

  3. About the Poets Learning Community

    The Poets Learning Community (PLC) brings together student poets interested in telling, writing, publishing, and performing their diverse stories through spoken-word poetry, hip-hop, and slams. Through a series of Verbal Blend workshops, interactions with nationally recognized poets, and a trip to the Harriet Tubman House students will engage, entertain, and affect campus and community with their poetry. Students in the learning community will be mentored by upper-class students in the Verbal Blend poetry program.

    The Poets Learning Community is open to undergraduate SU students, there is no course requirement, and it is located in Boland Hall 5th floor.  The PLC is a collaborative initiative between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Residence Life.

    Community Goals

    • Provide a safe environment for poets to share their diverse stories and write and perform original poetry
    • Provide programs geared towards bringing awareness and engagement to spoken-word poetry, slams and hip-hop

    Learning Community Programs

    • “Get on the Bus for Poetry:” an open mic on a charter bus through the Connective Corridor to Harriet Tubman Home
    • “MESH:” a literary journal for poets to publish their poems
    • National visiting poet for 1 to 2 weeks and workshop with the students
    • Six week workshop with Verbal Blend Poetry Program by the Office of Multicultural Affairs
    • Students will research trends that are changing the climate of poetry and design a conference entitled “What it Means to be a Spoken-Word Poet or Hip-Hop Artist in the 21st Century”