Making Homecoming Welcoming for All


Attending a reception at last year’s Multicultural Homecoming were Ada Umubera x’15, Erika Dickerson x’13, Milele Chikasa Anana, and Chika Onwuvuche ’14. Photo: Andy Manis.

Multicultural activities aim to broaden alumni engagement.

Although it’s one of the largest and longest-running traditions on the UW campus, some alumni and students have never felt especially at home during Homecoming.

It’s a feeling that a campus coalition led by WAA is working to change, one inclusive festivity at a time. In 2013, more than 170 attendees participated in the first-ever comprehensive Multicultural Homecoming, and this year’s event built upon the new tradition.

“This was only the beginning of what we hope will become a more extensive dialogue about improving multicultural alumni engagement with the UW and celebrating diversity efforts across the university landscape,” says Tracy Williams-Maclin, director of diversity and inclusion for the Wisconsin Alumni Association. “There’s a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm around the continuation of that mission.”

Multicultural Homecoming is designed to encourage students and alumni from diverse backgrounds to celebrate and network. Organizers hope that fostering a stronger sense of community among diverse alumni will encourage more multicultural participation in broader Homecoming activities and, by extension, more involvement on campus in general.

“Alumni of color can assist the university in areas of student recruitment, mentoring, career networking, volunteer service, and philanthropy,” says Candace McDowell ’73, founder and now director emerita of the UW Multicultural Student Center, who worked closely with fellow alumni to coordinate this year’s celebration. “[This event] provides an opportunity for the university to build a strong culture of engagement, commitment, and philanthropy among multicultural alumni.”

Activities during the 2014 Multicultural Homecoming weekend included a welcome reception, a networking event for students and alumni, panel discussions, game-watch parties, special campus tours, and more.

“Alumni of color [can] relive their campus memories by reconnecting with programs and organizations that were part of their student experience,” McDowell says. “All are enriched when we contribute to and learn from a community comprising people from other backgrounds and beliefs.”

Campus partners that collaborated to host this year’s celebration included First Wave, Latino/Latina Student Association, LGBTQ Association, Multicultural Student Center, National Pan-Hellenic Council/Black Greeks, Office of the Chancellor, PEOPLE, the Posse Program, Wunk Sheek, and the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement.

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Published in the Winter 2014 issue


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