MSA and ISO Will Experience Cultural Fusion This Year

by Michelle Zimmerman

The Multicultural Student Alliance and International Student Organization expanded this year in order to secure funding.

MSA and ISO both have members with diverse cultural backgrounds that hope to make campus more culturally aware and represent other similar ideas.

“This isn’t a merge but more of a working alliance,” Walter Lain, assistant dean for multicultural and international affairs, said. “They wish to remain separate groups who want to maintain individuality, but work together for common interests.”

Lain was hesitant at first when he heard the idea of both groups working together because he wanted them to remain separate for the sake of their individual purposes.

Last year ISO was denied funding from Student Government Association because of the assumption that the group was a closed organization, meaning only international students were allowed to participate.

“From my experience as the undergraduate assistant for the office of multicultural affairs, I can tell you already that the communication and involvement between international students’ organization and multicultural student alliance has already increased significantly,” Jan Spreitzenbarth, senior and public relations officer of ISO, said.

Neither group is closed to any student that wishes to participate and has no affiliation with a specific religion.

“Anyone can be a member; that is what multicultural means,” President of MSA Armando Andrade said.

In past years MSA has also been denied funding for similar reasons.

MSA is the heart of multicultural affairs on campus. Throughout the year they have food sampling, different cultural festivals, movie nights and other similar activities.

MSA hopes that more students will join to help create a more diverse group to accomplish more around campus.

“This is how I see it: if we wish to change something in this world, we must act and instigate for that change,” Andrade said.

Andrade believes that with more people the events can be larger and would create a need for more funding than MSA’s budget currently allows.

The mission of ISO includes valuing diversity and having a tolerance for difference.

“We commit ourselves to speak up against hatred and bigotry, to embrace diversity and tolerance and provide support to the targets of hatred on campus,” Spreitzenbarth said.

Last year its philanthropy included raising money for victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

The group has 20 members this year who represent more than ten different countries.

“Simpson students from Iowa or other parts of the United States will judge our conduct and (through that base) their judgment of our culture, country and people. We therefore expect the highest standards of scholarship, leadership, service and courtesy of our members,” Spreitzenbarth said.

Lain is the advisor for both groups but notes that he will work with any student who is interest in cultural diversity.

“The groups create a climate that creates an understanding with cross cultures,” Lain said.

If interested about learning more about MSA and ISO, you can attend its Salsa Night during the first week of October.