Iowa State University Diversity

By Jared McKenna

Iowa State University’s student population of over 36,000 brings a variety of cultures to Ames. While it is easy to notice differences in other groups of people, it is not as easy to see the diverse cultures behind these groups. The Multicultural Student Affairs organization, located in the Student Services building on campus, creates an outlet for often underrepresented cultures to be understood.

Graduate assistant for the Achieving Program for Excellence at Iowa State University, Jesus Galvan, says that underrepresented groups can find resources at Student Services to be heard.

“Our staff is good to help spread the word,” Galvan said.

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The Workspace, located in the basement of the Memorial Union, is a location on campus for students to express their creativity and heritage.

Many cultural organizations are already represented by the Multicultural Student Affairs organization and are listed as official Iowa State University clubs. These organizations range from the African Students Association to the German Student Association (Zeitgeist). These organizations represent students of a wide variety of cultures and differing backgrounds.

“Under represented [groups] could come to talk and get resources for an organization,” Galvan said.

The staff at the Multicultural Student Affair organization’s A.P.E.X. advises the group organizations and even schedules events for members of the different organizations to attend.

“We [the organization] set up a ‘tailgate social’ for the San Jose State game… This community is very strong, this is just a place like home,” Galvan said.

Other events are organized by the university to provide a space for different cultures to come together and spread awareness. One event to bring awareness to ‘Latin X’ cultures is organized by the Workspace in the Memorial Union. This event is the “Dia de los Muertos Skull Decorating” event.

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The Student Services Building provides resources and organizations, like the Multicultural Student Affairs Organization, to represent the culturally diverse student body of Iowa State.

Supervisor at Workspace, Aston Chang, says that the many cultural events held at the Workspace can help spread awareness in what is today’s culture.

“This is a very open community to use the space for creative needs,” Chang said.

The “Dia de los Muertos” event is held in the Workspace throughout the month of October to bring awareness to the “Latin X” cultures. Other cultural crafting events the Workspace organizes are “Rainbow Necklaces”—held in November for the L.G.B.T. community,—winter holiday events, and crafts including Chinese calligraphy.

“[Art] helps the community stay engaged and keep connected to the culture of the area… [It’s] a cultural aspect of the city too… It’s more about the experience and positive energy,” Chang said.

Cultural diversity is a large part of the community of Ames and Iowa State University.

“No matter your background it can be a home away from home,” Galvan said.

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