OMA Intern Updates

I hope everyone’s having a good first few weeks back at school! Here are some updates on the OMA Interns’ summers and some of the things we’re looking forward to this year!

This summer, I lived with a small group of middle school-age girls at a camp in Wisconsin. I spent my days teaching creative writing, art, and canoeing and I even led some hiking trips. The summer had its challenges, though: I had never been to camp and adjusting to camp culture and almost completely disconnecting myself from the world around me certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone. Watching these girls get to know each other, gain confidence, meet people from backgrounds different from theirs, and understand themselves in a new way could not have been more inspiring. This year I hope to zoom in a little more on LGBTQ programming and support on this campus. I hope to continue and expand the SafeZone training (queer sensitivity training for customs folk) and help strengthen queer affinity groups on campus. I’m a CP this year for Tritton 2nd East (the gender neutral hall on campus), I can’t wait to get to know my first years better, be part of an important new development in residential life at Haverford, all while beating sophomore slump!
-Clara Abbott ’18

This summer was extremely dynamic and exciting for me. I read many books for a student seminar and was finally able to get my driver’s license. During most of July I took part in a symposium called “Conflict Prevention, Resolution and Reconciliation” in Bologna, Italy. There, I met wonderful people from all over the world and traveled to various Italian cities. Once I returned home, San Diego, I prepared for a small road-trip with two college friends. We camped in Yosemite and spent two nights in San Francisco. We definitely got to know each other on a new level. I am delighted with my summer experience, and thank CPGC and HCAH for making it possible. Coming into senior year, I am looking forward to engage in new experiences and conversations, and of course, to graduation!
-Maria Gpe. Bojorquez-Gomez ’16

This past summer I had the opportunity to intern at the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP) in Thailand. The internship was extremely informative and I got to learn about different aspects of HTA (economic evaluation, budget impact, ethics, and the development of health benefit packages) from talented and inspiring health professionals. Through the internship, I was able to attend a consultation meeting in Vietnam and in my spare time, I explored different parts of Thailand. Needless to say, the experience left me mind-blown. Thank you CPGC and MMUF for making it all possible!! I also visited family in Nigeria which was long overdue. As I enter my final academic year at Haverford, I’m looking forward to being part of this energetic community and all that comes with it for one last year!
-Oluwatobi Alliyu ’16

This past summer I worked as an intern in the Concord Academy Institutional Advancement Office. Returning to my high school as an employee was a treat and I especially enjoyed experiencing campus without students. I worked mostly with the alumni database and looking through events they had organized in the past. My favorite part of the summer was getting to reconnect with old friends and living in Boston! This year I’m excited to work with my lovely fellow interns on some really cool programming as well as enjoying my last year!
-Miriam Perez-Putnam ’16

This summer was a busy but extraordinary experience. I began the summer with a 10 day trip to Guatemala where I assisted a professor with her new research on immigration from the Guatemalan highlands to the US. It was an amazing experience.We traveled along the highlands of Guatemala interviewing several families that had experienced the phenomenon of immigration. We also were in Guatemala during a time of great social upheaval. The vice president and other high ranking government officials resigned while we were there due to the pressure of protest movements in the capital. When I got back home to Maryland after that fascinating trip, I began working with a non-profit in Maryland called Identity which worked with Latino youth. I worked at the office and then worked at two different summer programs with middle schoolers. At the summer programs, I helped facilitate the curriculum focused on social emotional health, leadership and assisting the youth create and obtain their goals. I also ran the soccer portion of the recreation program, helping improve the youths soccer skills. I became great friends with my co-workers who were an amazing group of people and I loved working with the youth so much that I really would like to work with the organization again. I am looking forward this year to helping shape the OMAs new direction and hopefully studying abroad in Cuba!!!!
-Rafael Moreno ‘17

A Guiding Narrative

Hello All,

For those of you I have yet to meet, my name is Ben Hughes and I am the new Program Coordinator in the OMA, and as of this past Wednesday (April 15th), I have been part of the Haverford community for three months. I hope to take many opportunities to contribute to this blog, and with this first one I considered for some time what I might say. Thinking of all the different stories that I could tell, I was then struck by the clarity of someone else’s narrative.Their telling fully encapsulates where I am in my journey, and the questions I am working through. I won’t go into a long soliloquy, but instead offer the text itself, a poem written by Rudyard Kipling:


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;


If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with triumph and disaster

And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools;


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;


If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch;

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man my son!

Forgiving the gendered language at the close, I find this poem incredibly prophetic and inspirational for anyone. It speaks to the humility I hope to bring to my work at Haverford, and the recognized difficulty of the issues we are tasked with addressing. I would love to chat about it sometime.My office is in Chase 209, please drop by if you are so inclined.

International Food Tasting: Cultural Exchange through Food and Friends


Cooking in the MCC kitchen! Photo credit Matthew Liu '15

Cooking in the MCC kitchen! Photo credit Matthew Liu ’15

Hey guys! With Culture Week kicking off this Saturday, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite ways to broaden my cultural horizons at Haverford: food!

Whether you are on the full meal plan or have a kitchen, it’s inevitable that from time to time, you will think longingly of your favorite foods that you have left behind in your hometown. I always miss Mission-style burritos, bubble tea and, of course, my parents’ cooking. The other International Student Services Interns and I decided to hold an event to help some of our international freshmen reconnect with their home cultures and partake in the cultures of others while expanding our cooking repertoires and having a great time.

This year’s international freshmen and ISRPs (International Student Resource Persons) recently gathered in the Multicultural Center for a Food Tasting Social, where we cooked some of our favorite recipes for everyone to share. We made a list of ingredients to buy beforehand and used the pots, pans, and utensils offered in the MCC. A few of the dishes we tasted were Chinese-style chicken drumsticks, tostones (fried plantain slices), choux (pastry dough) and scallion pancakes from my parents’ own recipe! We also snacked on popcorn, chips, and salsa – classic Haverford staples.

Having the opportunity to cook in a kitchen with friends was a memorable experience for us all. It was a challenge to test the maximum capacity of the MCC kitchen, but I found that we were well suited to the task and made good use of limited space and cooking equipment. Most importantly, taking the time to cook foods from scratch to share with one another made for a festive and exciting experience. The International Food Tasting was our first time planning and executing an event of this nature, and after our success, I believe it will not be the last!
Check out CULTURE WEEK for opportunities to explore cultures through food, music, celebration, and more!
Written by Tina Zhuo, ISSO Intern, Class of 2015

“Recognize Your Haver-Privilege” : A Privilege Poster Campaign


This gallery contains 32 photos.

The idea of a privilege poster campaign began last semester (Fall 2014) through the combined efforts of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and Student Activities Office (SAO). Lilly Lavner, the Director of Student Activities and Leadership, forwarded a link to a poster campaign on privilege at the University … Continue reading

Apply for OMA Diversity Grants & Get Funding for an Event/Conference!

Hello Everyone! As the Chair of the Budgeting Committee for the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) I encourage YOU to apply to the many diversity grants we have available. The OMA offers funding for students and organizations interested in diversity-related programming and conferences.

Our diversity grants can be split up into three main categories:

Diversity Initiatives Grant: offers up to $300 to sponsor a Haverford student/club’s event, workshop, or project related to expanding our collective understanding of the challenges and opportunities of creating a truly diverse community.

Conference Grant: offers up to $300 to sponsor Haverford students to attend domestic and international conferences aimed to expand their knowledge on issues of diversity and/or help immerse students in multicultural settings.

AMA Experiential Opportunity Grant: offers up to $100 to AMAs to
create an experiential learning opportunity that would broaden their customs group’s understanding of multiculturalism through an event or workshop that engages diversity-related issues.

If you are interested in talking through ideas, getting feedback on plans, or finding help with the application process, contact the OMA Budgeting Committee at or drop by the Stokes 111 office to speak to one of the interns.

For additional information, visit

OMA Spring Break: The 2015 White Privilege Conference

I’ve spent this week in emotional and physical recovery mode from the engaging and eye-opening White Privilege Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s that feeling you get upon walking out of an amazing or dramatic movie: amazed, drained, and perhaps not fully ready to jump back into daily life. Haverford sent 27 students, 2 alums, and two faculty members, Ben Hughes and Walter Sullivan. The team drove almost fifteen hours to get to the conference, but in my opinion, the 15 hours were well worth it. Workshops offered included “New Racism and Progressive Northerners,” “Allies and the Privilege of Oblivion,” “Placing ‘Ferguson’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ in the Historical Struggle for Civil and Human Rights”, and hundreds of others.

Students were free to pick the workshops they attended, and most students attended the keynote speaker and caucuses (affinity-based discussion spaces). The Keynote speeches ranged from activist to legally focused to academic, spanning a wide range of topics from Native American (in)visibility in the United States to race in current pop culture. Though some workshops felt more like lectures, I feel that overall the set of workshops I attended pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to speak honestly and vulnerably. My favorite workshop was “Allies and the Privilege of Oblivion,” a workshop about fostering allied behavior and strong listening skills, in which the group answered questions like “When did you fail as an Ally,” and “What is an issue you have the privilege to not have to think about?”. As someone who has considered herself an ally, it was important for me to acknowledge and unpack the many times in which I have failed to do so.

This is not the last you will hear of the conference. If you have questions, thoughts, or just want to hear more about WPC participant experiences, come to the ReAct discussion on April 1st from 7-8. We will discuss the conference and make some plans for turning these conversations we’ve had at the conference into action on campus. The conference happens every year, and will take place in Philadelphia next year, and next year we hope to bring an even larger group.

For more information, check out

Multicultural Communual Spaces

When imagining how to foster a strong vibrant community, I think one of the most vital resources that helps promote these values of inclusion and openness is having a noticeable communal space that is well used. One of the greatest lacks I have become aware on Haverford’s campus is this very communal space. The layout of Haverford’s campus does not have an area that is viewed as a communal space where students come together and just relax and hangout. The main areas where students gather are the library, Zubrow commons, and the coop. These environments offer a good space to do work or collaborate on projects but still lack a communal atmosphere and usually most students focus on their work or a few friends. This concept of a communal space also is vital to the mission of multiculturalism, having a space that is marked as cultural spaces play a vital role in providing areas where students from various backgrounds can come together and foster cultural exchanges. These spaces also provide niches for certain communities who want to explore their identities. There three spaces on campuses that are labeled as cultural centers. The first is the Ira Reid House or the Black Cultural Center. This space is a convenient location on campus and also plays a vital role as a space where various affinity groups hold meetings. However, the space also serves as a dorm which limits its use as a communal space. By being a living space there is an implicit element of privacy that people must respect when they are using the space. The second space is the Multicultural Center which is a great space that even has a kitchen. However, the space has developed a more formal atmosphere because it is one of the most accessible meeting spaces for administration. While talking discussing with fellow students where to hold an event, a student mentioned how holding it in the MCC would give it a more formal atmosphere. This perception of the MCC is shared by many in the student body. Our partner in the Tri-Co, Swarthmore offers a prime example of multicultural communal spaces. Swarthmore has their version of the MCC called the Intercultural Center which offers a warm and welcoming space that can serve as a hangout space and foster a diverse cultural exchange. Next to this space there are

Swarthmore Intercultural Center Big Room

various small meeting spaces assigned to the affinity groups and other clubs on campuses which are decorated by these clubs and provide a meaningful space that can help foster greater community within these individual groups and also greater collaboration by being in close proximity to one another. Haverford has a few spaces designated to certain affinity groups and clubs however they are spread thin across campus, many times in non-ideal locations. In fact, the Haverford Asian students association used to have a room in the Dining Center basement, not the most ideal location; however the room now due to the lack of available spaces is being used by another group the Clerk. The campus seems poised to recreate many spaces on campus do to the renovations of the Library and Ryan Gym. The OMA as well has made a commitment to trying to change the perception of the MCC and is now announcing its free hours during the day so students can come and hang out or do homework.  I urge the diversity task force to make an effort to advocate for the creation of communal multicultural spaces as part of their mission. Community is a vital part of diversity; these communal spaces offer places of cultural exchanges that can combat the divisions across campus and can help foster a diverse and open campus.
Just some thoughts
Rafael Moreno ‘17

Bridging generations within the Haverford Community

Hi friends,

This past weekend, I was grateful to attend the Alumni Reception that was organized by Ben Hughes, the OMA Program Coordinator. The reception served as an informal get-together where alumni of color and current Haverford students could get to know each other, hear each other’s experiences on this campus, and build a multi-generational network within this community. For the first part of the reception, we were free to mingle, and I used this time to catch up with some friends from Haverford House. The second part, we did formal introductions. Students were asked to describe their involvement on campus, particularly related to affinity groups. Alumni were asked to speak about their jobs, and their most significant moment of their Haverford career.

As can be imagined, we heard of all sorts of stories! The alumni were graduates of all years spanning early 1970s, to coed integration in 1980s, and some from the first AMA class of 2004. Their significant moments were filled with struggle, struggle to be one of the four students of color on campus, having IDs checked when questioned if they belonged here, maintaining and creating affinity groups that served as their only representation on campus. Those stories were also filled with pride in their own success and the ability to return to campus and be a true representation of “Lives that Speak.”

I was honored to be in a room filled with alumni who paved the way for other students of color. It was a humbling and inspiring experience, and I do wish the OMA continues to foster this network of alumni of color.

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Community Book Talk from Asali Solomon

My name is Clara Abbott, I am a first year student here at Haverford and the newest intern at the Office of Multicultural Affairs! Diversity-related work, particularly support for LGBTIQ students, was a big part of my high school career, and I am so grateful that the OMA team is letting me continue that work in such exciting ways.

One of my favorite new things about working for the OMA is the chance to organize and attend so many interesting events at Haverford about which I might not have heard otherwise. This past Thursday, the OMA hosted a book talk by Asali Solomon, assistant professor of English here at Haverford and author of a new novel, Disgruntled. Disgruntled follows a young girl, Kenya Curtis, as she moves a sense of home in her community. Asali read aloud a passage from her novel then answered questions from the crowd about her inspirations, her recent interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, and her second most-recent work, Get Down. Asali spoke casually and The event was an amazing chance to bring together diverse group of Fords as with members of the greater community to discuss about race, culture, and coming of age, all through a literary lens. The event was a huge hit and the beginning of hopefully many more eye-opening and refreshing book talks, organized by OMA intern Oluwatobi Alliyu.

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Check out Asali’s interview on NPR:

Culture Clash on Campus: an inter-religious/inter-spiritual discussion on drugs and partying.

Last week the Religion and Spiritual Life Office invited community members to talk about their experiences with alcohol and drugs as well as partying on a college campus. While partying can be an important part of college culture it often goes with drinking which while illegal the majority of campus, still happens, and plays an important role in creating friendships, bonding, and more. Often students who choose not to partake in these activities feel alienated and feel that they cannot participate in a big part of campus culture, due to respect for their spiritual and religious culture. This is the space in which this conversation took place. How does one negotiate the different cultural beliefs and expectations as a person of faith and a college student. The OMA asked a represenative from the Office of Religious Life to give their take on the conversation that took place last week. Here is what a representative had to say.

Diamond Henry, an intern at the Office of Religious life said this “On Wednesday, February 11, the Committee for Spiritual and Religious Life hosted a  inter-religious/inter-spiritual discussion on drugs and partying. It focused on how different religious or spiritual groups view Drugs, Alcohol and Partying.  During the conversation, we explored different Bible and Koran verses that covered the topic. We realized both were saying the same thing,  not that we shouldn’t  drink, party or do drugs, but that you should know your  limits.  The conversation was much less what the text said about drinking, and more about how we interpreted them and  how we put them  into practice. Our conversation included topics like how do we know our limits, when do you know you have gone too far, and how do we do these things without straying away from God and our beliefs. Next Month, Wednesday, March 18, the Committee of Spiritual and Religious Life  will also be hosting another discussion on  the question: ‘What Makes Me Spiritual and /or Religious?’” 

There will be more discussions on interfaith and inter spiritual topics happening throughout the semester.