By Mylo Fisherman
This summer, Robby Fahrenholtz (they/them) started in their position as the coordinator for the Multicultural Center for Student and Community Engagement. The main focus of their position is to create programs for LGBTQIA+ and first-generation students.
The Multicultural Center is located on the third floor of the UC. It serves as an inclusive centralized spot for students, staff and faculty to interact and collaborate. It’s open for anyone to come in and study and is equipped with computers and a handful of different seating options (including bean bag chairs).
One thing that Fahrenholtz has already done in their role is host the LGBTQ+ First Year Empowerment Group. It is meeting for the first six weeks of the fall semester every Tuesday from 3-4 pm in the Multicultural Center. This group has been designed to bring together LGBTQ+ students who are in their first year at Adelphi, whether they are first-years or transfers from another institution. Each week allows for students to cover new topics related to the experiences of LGBTQ+ college students–both in general and the specifics of being LGBTQ+ at Adelphi. Additionally, these weekly meetings also serve as an opportunity to build connections with other LGBTQ+ students as well as the many LGBTQ+ friendly resources on campus and in the community.
“The first-year empowerment group was very fun,” said Andrew Cahn, a first-year environmental studies major. “ I feel like I can talk about my very new experience with being non-binary in a judgment-free place.”
Ryan Mijumbi, a clinical psychology doctoral student, said, "Although I have respect and gratitude for my alma mater, getting to experience the Multicultural Center has affirmed for me that such a place should exist on all college campuses. For those who truly cannot be persuaded by college banners of ‘welcome’ or promises of ‘inclusivity,’ having a physical space is emblematic of a true desire to foster belonging for all students."
The Multicultural Center had its grand opening on September 8. There are many different organizations on campus that hold focus on diversity and inclusion, five of which tabled for the grand opening, including Gender & Sexuality Alliance, Feminist Alliance, Black Students United, Korean Students Association and Swing Phi Swing. Fahrenholtz described the grand opening as feeling like “the Multicultural Center was finally alive as there were so many students engaging in such a genuine way.”
Alyssa Furline, a senior communications major and president of Feminist Alliance, said, “When I was a first-year student, the Multicultural Center was just an idea. Seeing it for the first time made me excited about its potential for students of all backgrounds and identities.”
Furline also shared their thoughts on Fahrenholtz describing them as, “fun, down to earth, and always takes time to communicate with us. As a student leader, I'm grateful to have them in our corner. Only time will tell if the Multicultural Center lives up to its mission. But for now, I think it's a step in the right direction.”
Fahrenholtz is eager to take on this new role and is determined to have a positive impact on the Adelphi community as a whole. “I’m looking forward to educational opportunities,” they said. “People do not get LGBTQ+ experiences in a regular classroom setting and that also applies to first-generation students as well.”
You can visit Fahrenholtz in their office on the third floor of the UC in room 325, first door on the left by the elevator or you can reach them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.