College expands overnight multicultural program

The Office of Admissions is expanding its effort to attract more students from different cultures to campus through the Multicultural Perspective Overnight program, now in its second year.

M-POP is an opportunity for accepted early action and regular decision multicultural students to visit and become better acquainted with Emerson. Last year, 30 students participated in the weekend-long program—and more than half committed to the college, according to Admissions Director Michael Lynch.

This year, admissions doubled the program’s budget to $100,000. The extra funds allow the office to increase the number of invited students and lengthen the program to two weekends spread across February and April.

All travel, meal, and lodging costs for M-POP participants are covered by the college. The program will coincide with Picture Yourself at Emerson, an open house event for accepted students.

Applicants for the Class of 2022 will also stay in hotels off-campus instead of residence halls. This switch simplifies the planning process, giving program mentors and students time to get to know each other in another setting, Lynch said.

Lynch said versions of programs similar to M-POP have existed for years, but this grew out of conversations within the admissions staff.

Diversity Outreach Interns and other student volunteers act as mentors during the program and show M-POP participants around the school and city.

Junior Elmer Martinez is a Diversity Outreach Intern and mentor for M-POP. As a mentor, Martinez focuses on emphasizing strength within the community of students of color, while also acknowledging the state of diversity at Emerson.

The Class of 2021 is primarily white. 67 percent of students are Caucasian, followed by 11 percent Hispanic, five percent Asian/Pacific Islander, four percent African American, and only one Native American student, according to the Emerson Facts and Figures page on the college’s website.

“We [mentors] were adamant about the facts that come along with coming to Emerson as a multicultural student. We were very much genuine with that,” Martinez said. “We were like ‘Listen, this is what it is. This is who we are. We find empowerment via these different avenues.’ We reinforced what has been true with our experiences.”

Students interested in M-POP are required to fill out a separate application following notification of acceptance to the college.

From there, Associate Admissions Director Camille Bouknight and Senior Assistant Director of Multicultural Recruitment Quontay Turner read through the applications. Lynch said they decide which accepted students to invite to M-POP based on a variety of factors—including the applicant’s academic profile, whether the student qualifies for scholarships, their geographic background, and their racial or ethnic background.  The program is only open to domestic students.

Lia Kim, freshman from Queens, New York with a Korean background, visited Emerson through the M-POP program last year. Kim said while she originally didn’t consider diversity an important factor in her college decision, it’s something she thinks about now.

“I knew a big population of the school was white, but I didn’t think that would make me so … I don’t want to say uncomfortable, because it’s not a bad thing,” Kim said. “But it was a bit jarring to go from a diverse New York city school to here.”

Kim said she found solace in Asian Students for Intercultural Awareness.

“The feeling I have walking into an ASIA meeting is so much more different than walking into my [all-white] suite,” she said.

 

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