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Kalamazoo College
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Resources for Students of Color

While campus resources are available to all students who seek them, here we have centralized some of the most commonly requested resources and information for students of color.

This page is a work in progress.  If you have questions or ideas, please send them to studev@kzoo.edu.

The Office of Intercultural Student Life

Office of Intercultural Student Life located in the Hicks Student Center provides individual and programmatic support to all students, with a special focus on students of color, lgbtqai+ students, international students, first-generation students, and low-income students.  The Director of Intercultural Student Life is Natalia Carvalho-Pinto, and her office is located in the Student Development suite in the Hicks Student Center.  Natalia also serves as director of the Intercultural Center.

The Intercultural Center

The Intercultural Center opened in Fall 2015 and is open and available to students 24/7 during the academic year.  To date the Intercultural Center has served as a gathering place, meeting room, and resource room for many students at K, including students of color.  The Center has begun to build a resource library of reference, historical, fiction, and poetry books which highlight artists, authors, and people of color.  Additionally, magazines and periodicals are available and were chosen to better meet student needs and foster a sense of belonging, including some Spanish language publications.

Additionally, the Center has provided some programs including off-campus trips to speakers for Hispanic Heritage Month and MLK celebrations, as well at the GLCA’s Student of Color Leadership Conference.  The Center has also sponsored events in conjunction with other campus offices.

The Intercultural Center has a volunteer student advisory board to help fully develop and implement the mission, vision, and direction for the Center.  This group formed in Fall 2015 and will continue to meet in Winter and Spring 2016 to serve as a resource to help orient and welcome the new Director for Intercultural Student Life.

The Office of Student Involvement (OSI) and Student Organizations

Through OSI programming, there are many examples of and opportunities for collaboration, and these often include or focus on programs of interest for students of color. These include the opportunity to host a film and discussion event, collaborate with Zoo After Dark Events (e.g. Afro Fiesta Desi Soul, etc.), and participate in many other programs with a theme or focus chosen by students (First Fridays, Wind-Down Wednesdays, etc.).  The underlying goal of these initiatives is to help foster a sense of belonging for all students, including students of color by providing programs, activities, and events of interest and importance to students of color.

Student Organization Coalition

Although relatively new, OSI has developed resources to support the collaborative efforts of student organizations.  In Spring 2015, a group of student organizations whose missions focused on students of color, began to organize and come together to support each other and formed the Students of Color Coalition.  Since then, OSI has provided funding and logistical support to this coalition, whose goals include:

  • Encourage collaboration amongst groups with similar missions
  • Provide increased support for organizations to do collaborative work
  • Enhance the K College community by ensuring our student organization community is meeting the needs of the student body
  • Provide structure to ensure continuity and continued success

Student Organizations

OSI is deeply involved with many students of color through support for several student organizations.  The College currently has over 60 registered student organizations, including at least twelve whose mission and purpose includes the support students of color and/or to spread cultural awareness.

Active Student Organizations

  • Asian Pacific Islander Student Association (APISA)
  • Black Student Organization (BSO)
  • Caribbean Society
  • Hermanas Unidas
  • KalamaAfrica
  • K Desi
  • Kalamazoo College Lion Dance Troupe
  • Latino Student Organization (LSO)
  • M.E.Ch.A
  • Muslim Student Association
  • Women of Color Alliance
  • Young Men of Color

As of the Winter 2016 Quarter, one new Student Organization that has just formed.

  • Chinese Student Association

In recent history, there have been many other student organizations which have actively supported students of color, and although these organizations are not currently active, the list below reveals the broader scope of student organizations which have been a part of our community in the past.  This list may be seen to reveal the College’s continued support for the evolving needs of students of color.

Inactive Student Organizations

  • Asian American Organization
  • Black Girls Rock (Kalamazoo College Chapter)
  • Chinese Club
  • International Student Organization (ISO)
  • Latin Social Dancing (LSD)
  • Palestinian Liberation Organization
  • Queer People of Color Coalition
  • Young Persian Society

Although our current active Student Organizations are broad, if a student wishes to form a group around a common theme or topic, students can do so; thus opening many doors and resources at Kalamazoo College.

Counseling Center

In addition to providing individual counseling sessions to any student, Sister Circle, a support group for women students of color, is facilitated through the Counseling Center by Dr. Kenlana Ferguson.

Sukuma

Offered through the science departments, Sukuma is a peer-based study group for students of color.  Sukuma provides an atmosphere of community, belonging, learning, support, and achievement by and for students of color in the sciences.

Sukuma is the Swahili word for “push” and over the years, it has become a space for students who feel underrepresented whilst studying the natural and hard sciences at Kalamazoo College to share a meal and hold a discussion in a safe and supportive environment over any concerns they may have.  The mission of Sukuma is to build a strong community within students to support and enable individual successes. Sukuma meets every Monday to share dinner and discuss an array of topics that might benefit a student on track for any of these majors - from how to understand a syllabus and tips on note-taking to how to stay driven to complete a challenging major when handling home-sickness, adversity, or the like.