For Alicia Sanchez, the position of director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) is about more than just showcasing cultures.
She believes that their job is to help students to succeed.
“I do it for students,” Sanchez said. “I volunteer a lot in my own community, so I feel that’s extremely important.”
And part of that drive to serve others has seen Sanchez take the position of director and use it to help define a new path for OMA. Part of that path will be making the OMA play a bigger role in student retention and in community service.
Sanchez said that retention was the biggest concern for her amongst students in minority groups. She said that OMA will be trying to reach out to these students and help give them the tools they need to succeed while easing them into the community
“As long as we are retaining the students, it means we’re doing our job in other areas of providing awareness to resources on campus,” Sanchez said. “The main goal is to get all the students that we service in this office to graduate.”
Sanchez said this desire to see others succeed and giving back comes from her upbringing as the first college graduate in her family. This caused her interest in working for a university in the undergraduate department to help bring in more students.
“When I worked in the admissions office, recruitment [of] students and higher education were my passion,” Sanchez said. “So being able to serve those students was really important to me. Students like myself that didn’t really have mom or dad to really show them the way.”
After gathering experience in admissions, she began as assistant director in the undergraduate office. Sanchez’s desire to bring in people from under-served communities led her to volunteer with groups such as Big Brothers & Big Sisters and work in the TRIO program.
Sanchez said this desire to help students succeed brought her to the OMA. As she leads the office into a new direction, she also has the ability to change everything else around her.
The staff currently consists of two interns and two staff members with a full office staff by sometime in September. OMA is also getting a new office in a year in the Rhatigan Student Center.
During this time, she said a priority for OMA is to increase student involvement. She said she wants students to help improve the community.
All of these changes are problems that Sanchez said she looks forward to tackling in the coming months and years. “There’s so many great opportunities and this has been a good office, but it’s time to take it to the next level,” Sanchez said.