On Sept. 26, UVU’s Multicultural Student Services (MSS) organization hosted “Colors of Culture,” an event to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month.
The event was organized by Carlos Figueiredo, the Latino Initiative program coordinator for the MSS and Camila Dickson Bejaran, who serves as the activities lead on the Multicultural Student Council (MSC). As activity lead, Bejaran’s responsibilities include “organizing events that target and represent underrepresented minorities on campus, as well as educating students on a variety of topics.”
Although the event was inspired by Hispanic/Latin countries, Bejaran explains that she “wanted everyone to feel represented and welcome to join.” She included flags from the Caribbean Islands, along with countries all over North, South, and Central America. To make sure that everyone could feel represented, Bejaran included blank sheets of paper so students who were not from any of these countries “could create their own flags from scratch.” She also reports that while many students from Hispanic and Latin countries were in attendance, there were also several participants from various other countries, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Tonga.
Meg Singer, the program director of the Native American Initiative here at UVU reports that “There were a lot of happy, laughing people and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun” at the Colors of Culture event.
Cultivating an environment that encourages inclusion and diversity, as well as equity and justice is a primary goal for the MSC. The council also wants to “ensure that our students, staff, and faculty understand that UVU values and incorporates their voices and lived experiences into our campus community,” according to Bejaran.
The MSC provides tons of resources for students with all sorts of ethnic backgrounds and heritages in many ways. Events like the one this week, collaborations, and assistance to the community by “bridging current issues affecting students from various traditions, cultures, identities, genders, expressions, orientations, ages, abilities, religious beliefs, economic backgrounds, and racial/ethnic origins
,” are all approaches the MSC is taking to achieve their goal. Bejaran also explains that they have monthly dialogues to educate both students and the community on related topics and concerns.
“We [the MSS/MSC] are a welcoming environment where everyone is more than welcome to be themselves,” says Bejaran. “No matter where you come from, whether you are from an underrepresented population or not, you will always be welcomed and accepted in the MSS space/offices.”
Bejaran wants to have one of these events every month and plans to honor Filipino Heritage Month in October. She will be collaborating with UVU’s Asian Student Identities Alliance Club and possibly the BYU Filipino Club, as well.
Visit UVU’s Multicultural Student Services website
, or stop by room 114 of the Liberal Arts building to find out more about the organization and get involved.