Multicultural Student Center brings flavor, culture to campus

Tasty Thursdays, held in the Multicultural Student Center of the Student Services Building, give Weber State University students the opportunity to taste the flavors of different cultures around the world.

(Photo by Lauren Crest) Held on every last Thursday of the month, Tasty Thursdays give Wildcats an opportunity for their tastebuds to travel the globe without ever leaving campus.

Held on the last Thursday of every month, Tasty Thursdays have already showcased North America with grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, South America with tostadas, and recently Africa with a dish called bunny chow that represents South African cuisine — a mixture of spices, chicken, tomatoes and potatoes served on top of French bread. The dessert was cinnamon oranges, which originated from Morocco.

Chelsea Bybee, a peer mentor in the center, said Tasty Thursdays “is an event that our department throws to bring cultural awareness.” She said it is a seven-continent theme that will culminate in April of 2014.

In years past, the center held Nacho Thursdays, but it wanted to do something different to attract students and raise awareness.

Bybee said the idea for Tasty Thursdays was a culmination of ideas from the center. She said she was excited, because the seven continents worked out well with the seven-month school year.

She also said the center is there to help students by focusing on the retention of multicultural WSU students. It also assists students in utilizing scholarship funds.

“Historically, statistics have not been in their (cultural minorities’) favor for graduating,” Bybee said.

Maria Huerta, also a peer mentor, agreed with Bybee.

“There are a lot of students from different cultures at Weber State,” she said. “We help them to stay in college.”

For this purpose, the center utilizes several academic advisers to keep these students on track for graduation. Other services the advisers offer include mentoring, personal counseling and career counseling. All of the services are available to all ethnicities.

The center also assists students with services such as filling out FAFSA applications, finding scholarships or being a friend to anyone in need.

Bahar Alimadadi, a student at WSU, said she visits the center often to work on homework and hang out with culturally diverse individuals.

“It is a nice environment,” Alimadadi said. “People are so awesome here, and they are always willing to help.”

The department has four area councils: the Hispanic Area Council, the Pacific Islander Area Council, Black Scholars United and the American Indian Area Council.

The Multicultural Student Center website states, “Area councils are student-run organizations with constituency seats in the student senate, each representing the needs, concerns and advocating for minority groups on campus.”

The center’s events for next semester include celebrations for Black History Month, Mardi Gras and a Valentine’s Day fundraiser. The center’s events fall in line with the department’s mission statement, which states, “The Multicultural Student Center provides educational efforts to promote multicultural sensitivity, awareness, competency, and understanding.”

All of these events are available for any student to participate.

“We encourage everyone to come out and participate in all of the activities,” Bybee said. “It is always a really fun time.”