Finding a tightknit community in a massive school like NYU can be exhausting, especially for students in marginalized communities. But the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs wants to make it easier.
CMEP is dedicated to fostering social justice oriented communities for NYU’s diverse student body and empowering students to take on leadership roles as advocates and activists.
“NYU CMEP is an important part of the NYU community as we hope to provide a space for students, staff and faculty to engage in dialogue,” CMEP Director Leah Lattimore said. “Whether we are supporting student clubs and organizations or co-educating with other departments, we believe in engaging the NYU community and fostering positive change.”
CMEP offers a variety of opportunities for students of color to connect with each other and expand their knowledge of social justice. Some programs for this semester include the Students of Color Leadership Retreat, support group meetings called “Staying Well While Being Woke” and an abundance of discussion-based dinners and socials.
The center also provides Zone Trainings, a way to introduce students, faculty and staff to a multitude of issues surrounding identity and diversity. These trainings emphasize social justice and encourage participants to incorporate what they learned in their everyday lives.
For Steinhardt grad student Imani Wallace, a part of the graduate student staff, CMEP’s programming for graduate students of color was essential to finding a community within NYU.
“More than anything, being at NYU, I felt isolated and alone,” Wallace said. “So when I went to one of the socials, I was really blown away by how many people I met and could connect to.”
Through events and trainings, CMEP attempts to create a welcoming atmosphere for students such as Steinhardt grad student Sonia Gonzalez, who works on programming as a part of the graduate student staff.
“For me, CMEP is the most liberating space on campus to be a person of color and really acknowledge and celebrate all the different social identities I hold and facets of my being,” Gonzalez said.
Wallace also said it has been inspiring hearing students call CMEP their home, and how they feel like they belong there.
CMEP understands the struggles of being at a large university where it’s harder to find resources outside of the individual colleges or specific programs.
“You want to feel like you matter, that you belong at NYU,” Wallace said. “I think that CMEP does an excellent job at being a guidance and resource on campus for students and creating a community for them.”
Both Wallace and Gonzalez are excited about the beginning of a new CMEP series called “CMEP in the City.” These events will take place off campus, in settings of historical and cultural significance. According to Gonzalez, the series aims to both expose NYU students to people and places outside of the Washington Square and Brooklyn campuses and support local communities.
In addition to their events, CMEP welcomes students daily to hang out in the CMEP Lounge located in Kimmel 804/805. There are computers, a printer and space to relax. Next to the Lounge is CMEP’s office space, where all students can go to ask personal questions or pitch programming ideas.
“We want students to know that we’re available to talk and support them individually,” Lattimore said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 11 print edition. Email Natalie Chinn at [email protected]