Multicultural Living Learning Community

Multicultural Living Learning Community PhotoThe Multicultural Living Learning Community (MLLC) is the only community of its kind on campus where a racially and ethnically diverse community is intentionally created so residents may live and learn in a multicultural environment. Residents are required to participate in academic and co-curricular experiences that raises awareness about the impact of race and racism on individual identities, cross cultural communication, life opportunities, and various forms of social inequalities.

The MLLC is a collaborative initiative between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Residence Life, The MLLC is located in Lawrinson Hall 19th floor for the 2009-2010 academic year.

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.

Click Here for Youtube Video on the MLLC

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: (MLLC Speaks newsletter, Affinity Groups in the city of Syracuse)

History of the MLLC

In 1994, eight students approached the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of Student Activities (now the Office of Student Life) 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 learning 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 next year, a proposal was created and 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 that 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 being encouraged to participate in this experience so they may develop informed empathy and serve as allies to communities of color.

In essence, students of diverse backgrounds would not only be living together on a floor but would also be learning about the historical and sociological factors that make integrated or multicultural living such a challenge in the real world. What started as an idea for a unique multicultural living experiencing evolved into the Multicultural Living and Learning Community (MLLC). The proposal to establish the MLLC came at a time in University history (2000-2001) where 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 and Mission Statement

The initial proposal for the Multicultural Living/Learning Center 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)

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.

Learning Objectives, Goals, and Relevant Topics

The final and approved draft of the MLLC proposal identified discreet learning objectives goals, and relevant topics of discussion and education.

Learning Objectives:

  1. To help students better understand their own ethnic identities;
  2. To facilitate students having 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:

Provide undergraduate students an opportunity to explore their own ethnic and racial identities and set the state for building alliances across identities. In addition, the course will strive to determine strategies to link broader academic experiences with residential and other co-curricular activities. The course will include a visiting lecture series, a year-long programming calendar focused on racial and ethnic themes and celebrations, peer advising, and facilitated discussion regarding the different forms of oppression that students may be experiencing and kill building techniques to counter oppression.

Relevant Topics:

  • 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