MCS celebrates winter

The Multi Cultural Services Annual Winter Gathering took place on Feb. 10, 2010. MCS announced their new Mentor Program that began a few months ago. The event lasted from 11:30 to 2:00 p.m. and gave students a chance to mingle and socialize while enjoying a free lunch of chili, fresh vegetables, and desserts.

The Annual Winter Gathering is sandwiched between a Fall Gathering and a Spring Celebration, two other annual events put on by MCS.

MCS program coordinators pose at the MCS Annual Winter Gathering.
MCS program coordinators pose at the MCS Annual Winter Gathering.

MCS Director Ata Karim, and Program Coordinators Henry Amaya, Kathy Colasurdo and Diane Harrison put on the event. It took about a quarter to plan, however it has been on the calendar since last year. “We had the posters done a couple of months ago, invitations done, everything was done and then it was just a matter of pushing it out,” said Karim.

The gathering was a fun way for students to get to know their peers. “I think that it was a good way to mingle and interact with new people that you usually wouldn’t talk to or see during regular campus days,” said Black Student Union member Aunjoli Jean-Pierre.

MCS is in line with Bellevue College’s core mission to build an inclusive community. The Winter Gathering served three purposes. Karim explained, “Number one is to create a place for a multi cultural gathering. You know, faculty staff, students get together. They get to talk to each other, they connect with each other. Two, it allows students to learn more about MCS, and our set of services … and three, like today, we are unfolding a major Multi Cultural Services initiative which is the MCS faculty staff Mentoring Program,” said Karim.

The idea for the Mentoring Program began in the summer. Once enough people were invited, and MCS had a sense of who was interested, the program was implemented. However, the Winter Gathering gave MCS the perfect opportunity to announce their new program.

“I think it’s a wonderful program. I think that if students have a chance to work on a more personal level with a mentor, that it helps students to get their questions answered more directly. It provides some great role modeling, and studies show that students that take advantage of this opportunity are more apt to stay in school,” said Bellevue College President Jean Floten.

The program consists of 32 faculty and staff mentors and 42 students as the mentees. “The idea is for the mentees and the mentors to spend two hours a month together,” said Karim. That time spent will be answering any questions or concerns the mentees might have as well as giving “one more personal connection to the institution.”

The mentors and mentees were recognized at the gathering and had their pictures taken. Soon after, a long line appeared at the food stand and the fun began. “I thought it was a success. I thought there was a great turnout, a lot of people came. It was very diverse, and the mentor and mentee program should be success in the future,” said Black Student Union President Shellton Barnes. Stay tuned for the next MCS event, the Spring Celebration, next quarter.