Darah Snow has been appointed to the position of director for UVU’s Multicultural Student Services as of summer 2017. Snow said that part of her role as director is to enhance the already critical resources and advising that MCSS provides. “I want to make sure that when we’re saying that we’re ‘fostering a community of student success here’ that we really are doing that in our different initiatives and student programs and we’re ensuring that we are validating our students’ experiences,” Snow said.
Multicultural Student Services was renamed in 2012. Prior to that, it was known as the Multicultural Student Center. Now it is a larger entity on campus that includes many different organizations and clubs such as the Latino Initiative and LGBT Student Services.
“I feel that the trajectory that the previous directors have set has put us in a really great direction and I want to continue that,” Snow said “Really what I want to do is make sure that our students feel that they have a place to call home and they have a place that they can come to whether they need personal help, professional or academic. They can feel that MSS has that for them, but we can also help them connect to other departments on campus.”
Snow said that they plan to continue topics such as privilege, identity, and cultural appropriation. However, she also said that they want to focus on intersectionality, such as the intersections between ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religion as a way to avoid putting cultures or groups in neat or separate boxes.
She started working at Multicultural Student Services in 2012 as a full-time administrative assistant. Snow was born in Texas, and moved with her family to Oahu, Hawaii when she was six years old. At 21 years old Snow moved to Utah and said that it was a bit of a culture shock to realize that she was no longer part of the majority, in comparison to the diverse cultures she was used to. Snow attended a community college in Hawaii, but then transferred to what was then Utah Valley State College to pursue her Bachelors in Criminal Justice. She also pursued her Master’s degree at the University of Utah in their social justice program. One perspective she said has helped her stay hopeful throughout her educational experiences has to do with how far small change goes. “If you can at least change one person’s way of thinking, or if you can influence another person, you’re doing something,” she said.
Darah has done an excellent job providing the correct tools for engaged learning and a serious council, according to Cristobal Villegas, political science alumni and previous Executive Chair from spring 2014-2016. Villegas started out as a Multicultural Student Council member and has worked with Snow for four years. He said that the center allowed him to build his own self-confidence and academic desires by allowing him to have frank and vulnerable conversations with peers and mentors. “I see Darah growing the critical values of inclusion, education, community and culture by assuring that the students are by the forefront of such values. Honestly, when I succeeded the most was when I felt I had her trust and support, because not only was I doing such initiatives (Diversity Dialogues and National Student Diversity Leadership Conference) for the students, but because that I knew I represented the MSC, MSS, and Darah,” Villegas said.
Katty Perez, academic advisor Latino specialist since 2009, has worked with Snow for five years and said that Snow has an amazing personality that connects with people. “She’s a person who really cares about the mission of this department. She has a passion for offering and developing programs and bringing students together,” Perez said.