The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, OMSA, is one of many offices housed on EKU’s campus. According to their website, the goal of the office is to promote a culturally inclusive campus environment.
Students can create a community on campus for themselves and each other.
“We want to have a space for students to come and convene,” said Lee Grills, a graduate assistant for the OMSA.
This goal is achieved through the many different programs and services offered in the office. Among these programs are the Freshmen Academy for Diverse Students, LGBTQIA+ Student Services and the Latino Outreach Office.
“Freshmen academy is a diverse retention program for freshmen coming into college,” said Grills.
The main goal of the program is to provide minority students, who are incoming freshmen, with the resources and tools necessary to succeed in college. This is accomplished by introducing students to staff and classmates who will help guide them through their first year of college. Freshman Academy students also participate in a beneficial weekly mentor-mentee program. Students are required to meet once every week with their mentor.
“The more that you participate in Freshman Academy, the more likely you are to get a scholarship,” said Grills.
The OSMA also provides LGBTQIA+ student services. Just last semester the LGBTQIA+ student services attended a leadership conference in Berea called ‘Glimpse’.
“The conference focused on marginalized voices on campus. It was amazing, and I learned a lot,” said Grills.
The Latino Outreach Office is also a program housed within the OMSA office. The goal is to promote Latino recruitment and retention by working closely with the Bobby Verdugo & Yoli Rios Bilingual Peer Mentor and Tutoring Center, located in the McCreary Building.
“We help students who are thinking about coming to EKU. We’re kind of that gateway for them. If parents don’t know English, then we can translate for them,” said Welsy Discua, a double-major in International Business and Spanish and student worker at the OSMA.
The Latino Outreach Office also hosts workshops and events, such as the Latino College Fair, to help recruit incoming freshmen to EKU.
“On the twenty-second of this month [February] we’re going to have a college fair for independent schools. They’re going to come to campus and we’re going to show them around and have different workshops for them,” said Discua.
The office also offers scholarship opportunities based on participation. Then there are also many other scholarship opportunities available through Gaby Baca, the associate director of Latino recruitment and retention. Baca can help students find scholarships.
“Gaby does scholarship exploration with students. So, it’s a place where students can come for help on finding those scholarships,” said Grills.
The main focus of the office is equity for all students. Grills stated, “We really value multicultural systems. So, we want to make sure that students have a place to come together, and to take the resources from our office, our events and apply them everywhere else on campus too.”
The OMSA is in the process of moving to the second floor of the newly renovated Powell Student Center, right next to Barnes and Noble Book Store. The office was previously housed in Powell before renovations began on the building; however, they have been on the move ever since, with stays in both the Roark and Whitlock Buildings.
“With the new space, it will be really helpful. It won’t be a struggle to find a place to hold events for Freshmen Academy or any workshops that the offices are planning to do,” said Discua.
Both Discua and Grills hope that the new office space will attract more students and encourage them to participate in all the opportunities offered by the programs.
“It’s important for students to know that these services are here and to talk to them about it directly and not be afraid to do so,” said Grills, “I think having this new space is going to help us a lot with that.”
The OSMA has just begun the move to their new office in the Powell Student Center; however, you can still locate them in room 442 of the Whitlock Building until they have fully moved into Powell. For more information on the OMSA office and its programs, visit https://omsa.eku.edu or call 859 622-4373.