Spotlight: Office of Multicultural Student Affairs

October 12, 2019

As part of the University of Chicago’s Center for Identity + Inclusion (CI+I), the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) creates intentionally diverse and inclusive communities, serving as a bridge builder by engaging students and members of the University community of all backgrounds to ensure personal, academic, and professional growth and success. 

“I want all students to have the opportunity to experience the same sense of affinity, community, and belonging that has made OMSA a home away from home for so many over the years,” said Ravi Randhava, Assistant Provost and Executive Director of CI+I. “One of the best ways to get involved with OMSA is by attending a program. These programs take many forms, but all share the same basic criteria—they address current events as they impact our multicultural communities, explore complexities and intersections of identity, and engage our campus community in dialogue.”

Some of OMSA’s key initiatives for the 2019 - 2020 academic year include:

  • Heritage Series: This series celebrates UChicago’s multicultural student population while addressing relevant social issues faced by these communities. Each year, four speakers or artists are invited to give a keynote speech, share their work, and express their thoughts around issues impacting communities of color. The next Heritage Series event is a collaboration with LGBTQ Student Life’s Queering UChicago Speaker Series featuring Ariana Brown, a queer Black Mexican American poet from San Antonio, Texas. Brown is the recipient of two Academy of American Poets Prizes and a 2014 collegiate national poetry slam champion.  She will lead a workshop prior to her performance on Wednesday, October 16. RSVP now.
  • Affinity Groups: OMSA currently hosts five Affinity Groups: Latinx, Asian American Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA), Black, Multiracial, and Native American/Indigenous. Each group recently transitioned to a thematic three-part series. This year’s theme, “Critical Hope,” aims to give students opportunities to connect with one another and create solidarity among communities of color through joy. Community conversations will be held during the Autumn Quarter, followed by off-campus events during Winter Quarter and celebrations during the Spring Quarter. Upcoming events will be posted on the CI+I events calendar.
  • Students of Color Network: A new initiative created in partnership with the Office of the Provost, students in this network can participate in community gatherings across campus and in the Chicagoland area to foster conversations on diversity through the lens of arts and culture. The first event will be held on Thursday, November 7, at 5 p.m. and will feature a tour of the Smart Museum of Art’s exhibit Down Time: On the Art of Retreat, followed by dinner. RSVP now.
  • Faculty of Color Speaker Series: This series will feature UChicago faculty of color sharing information about their research and scholarship. Robert Vargas will be the inaugural speaker in the series on Tuesday, November 19, from 12:30 - 2 p.m. Vargas’s research examines how laws, politics, and bureaucracies shape the conditions of cities, with a particular focus on violence and healthcare. RSVP now.
  • Emerging Minds Project: This peer-facilitated program complements academic coursework through intentional dialogue and reflection on issues encountered daily in society. During the Winter and Spring Quarters, students can deepen their understanding of social justice, diversity, and identity on campus through facilitated discussions. Applications to the program are due by Friday, October 18, at 5 p.m. Apply now. 

OMSA encourages students to stop by the office to meet the staff and learn more about available programs and resources. Office hours are held every Monday from 2 - 4 p.m., but students are welcome to visit at any time. For more information, e-mail