Multicultural Student Union: Celebrating Diversity
Students of Mount Notre Dame High School’s Multicultural Student Union celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Photo provided by Nick Hosmer, Campus Minister for Multicultural Engagement at MND
Mount Notre Dame High School’s Multicultural Student Union (MSU) is in its second year of helping students practice appropriate communication methods and celebrate the culture and diversity within their halls.
MSU was born as a result of MND’s intentional decision to build understanding within their learning community. Many high schools today deal with insensitive events occurring between students on social media, which led MND faculty and students to begin the groundwork for the MSU throughout the 2016-2017 school year.
“We began the process by assembling students who self-identified as women of color, and we worked together to start a movement that would spread to all members of our community – students, faculty, staff, and parents,” says Kelly Albainy-Crosby, Director of Campus Ministry at MND.
MND employed an outside consultant to spend time working with these students to increase the cultural competence of the community. This included leading the students through activities which helped them recognize their varied dimensions of self, such as race, ethnicity and ability. With these activities in mind, they worked to draft the MSU proposal, which several students presented to the leadership of the school. And with that, the MSU was approved and officially began in the 2017-2018 school year.
“We strive to spread knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of all cultures and ethnicities throughout the MND community, and to provide a safe place for all people to come together in peace,” the students who proposed and ultimately started the MSU wrote when defining the organization.
The proposal identified the goals for individual members of the MSU and the community at large:
• Educate ourselves (multicultural students) on the differences within our own communities.
• Create community among the MND minority groups (our group)
• Provide activities and fun facts for the whole MND community (broader community)
Ways to achieve these goals are outlined in the students’ proposal through a number of project ideas including “Multicultural Mentors” – big sis/little sis pairings between students of color – as well as celebrations around cultural holidays and months, food, music, dress and art.
Most recently, a display case was created in the school that highlights multicultural images of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The case displays images of Mary crafted in Zaire, Congo, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Nicaragua, Chile, Mexico and the United States. Above these illustrated depictions, the Hail Mary prayer is represented in French, Spanish, Vietnamese, Arabic, Nigerian, Irish, Japanese and English.
“While our efforts are continuing to evolve,” says Albainy-Crosby, “I can definitely say that we have created a common goal and language for everyone at Mount Notre Dame to recognize and affirm the uniqueness of each person and the amazing gifts they bring to our community.”
Mount Notre Dame High School is located at 711 E. Columbia Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45215. For more information, visit www.mndhs.org.