Ferris State University Office of Multicultural Student Services (O.M.S.S.) makes every effort to educate the University community on various ethnic, faith-based and GLBT groups through programs and activities. In addition, O.M.S.S. is committed to assisting the ethnic minority population of students with their transition to college and leadership development.
Below is a summary of various events which our department seeks to increase understanding of diversity and inclusion as well as cultural awareness on campus.
TRANSITION TO SUCCESS
Transition to Success is the Minority 1st Year Student Orientation coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Student Services. T.T.S. is an opportunity for incoming minority students to be welcomed to campus, made abreast to resources available for their transition from high school to college, and empower them to get involved in organizations that will assist in their leadership development.
MINORITY STUDENT ORGANIZATION LEADERSHIP SUMMIT
The Minority Student Organization Leadership Summit is an opportunity for newly appointed executive board members to be trained on how to run their student organization effectively. Session topics will include organizational stability & development, and financial recording to name a few.
MINORITY STUDENT GET ACQUAINTED DAY
Get Acquainted Day is an opportunity to for incoming minority students to meet and greet fellow freshman and upperclassman as well as find information about registered student organizations.
T.O.W.E.R.S. PROGRAM SEMESTER KICK-OFF
The T.O.W.E.R.S. Multicultural Leadership Development Program Fall semester begins with this opportunity for LEADERS and PROTEGES to meet, learn about upcoming events, and receive program overview and expectations for active involvement.
HISPANIC/LATINO HERITAGE MONTH
National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each September 15- October 15 in the United States of America to recognize the contributions made by people of Hispanic descent and to celebrate Hispanic culture. Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 because it is the anniversary of 5 Latin American countries' Independence Day: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The Office of Multicultural Student Services seeks to sponsor events to educate the campus community of the Hispanic Heritage through performances, speakers, discussions and exhibits. In addition, the International Student Center and the Hispanic Student Organization work closely with our department with programming throughout the month.
OMSS’S ANNUAL BLACK ALUMNI HOMECOMING CELEBRATION
October is the time for Ferris State University’s Homecoming Celebration and the Office of Multicultural Student Services sponsors several events during Homecoming weekend for the FSU Black Alumni Reunion. Events sponsored by OMSS are in collaboration with S.E.M.B.A.A. (South Eastern Michigan Black Alumni Association) for FSU Alumni to reunite and meet new and old friends. Annual events include the OMSS Hospitality Suite, FSU Football Game Tailgate Tent, Black Alumni Homecoming Celebration and Sunday Brunch during Homecoming weekend at Ferris State.
NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY
National Coming Out Day is an international celebration that encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to speak openly about their identity. Early in 1988, a group of more than 100 LGBT activists from all over the United States convened in Manassas, Virginia to discuss issues related to the LGBT community. It was during that meeting that National Coming Out Day was established, with credit for the concept given to Rob Eichberg and Jean O’Leary. The date of the celebration (October 11) was chosen to commemorate the 1987 national March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights that had attracted more than half a million participants and had included the first showing of the NAMES Project Quilt, better known to some as the AIDS Quilt. The event is celebrated on October 11 in all fifty U.S. states as well as in several other countries, and is recognized on the following day, October 12, in the United Kingdom.
Ferris State University’s Office of Multicultural Student Services looks to collaborate with the DSAGA (Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance) student organization on events to educate the campus on GLBT issues.
NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH
Initially celebrated in 1916 by the state of New York, it was not until 1990 that then President George H.W. Bush established it as a month long festival. Not only does Native American Indian Heritage Month showcase the rich culture of the native people of this land, but also honors those American Indians that have suffered injustices. Therefore, we celebrate all Native Americans during the month of November. Through guest performers and lectures, the Office of Multicultural Student Services celebrates Native American Heritage at Ferris State University.
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY HOLIDAY
On the third Monday of January each year, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Day and is the only national holiday commemorating the actions of an African-American. Originally petitioned to honor King's dedication to trade unions, it would be established on November 2, 1983 by Ronald Reagan. The Office of Multicultural Student Services and a Campus-wide committee of faculty and staff utilize this time to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Day through a week of activities to engage the campus on the relevance of his life’s work.
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH
Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, is celebrated every year during the month of February in the United States. Because of the timing of the birthdays of 2 very important individuals in the fight to end slavery, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, Black History Week was originally slated for the second week in February in 1926. In 1976 it was expanded to encompass the entire month of February to recognize the significant achievements made by the African-American community in all aspects of American society. The Office of Multicultural Student Services sponsors events acknowledging the contributions of African-American men and women from the arts, politics, science and the academy. Lectures, forums and student-led presentations are often a part of this month long celebration.
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
Annually celebrated in March, Women's History Month acknowledges the many contributions women have made in America's rich past. From its beginnings as International Women's Day on March 8, 1911, it has been expanded twice by the United States Congress first as a weeklong celebration in 1981 and to its current month-long celebration in 1987. Each year, OMSS hosts programs to educate the FSU campus about women's issues and contributions to society. For more information and resources, feel free to visit the Virtual Women’s Center at: www.ferris.edu/vwc
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF CULTURES
The International Festival of Cultures is an opportunity to showcase and educate the various cultures from around the world at Ferris State University. The Office of Multicultural Student Services and the International Student Center collaborate on the festival. Through a variety of food, handouts and performances, guests can count on being educated on the diversity of cultures at FSU.
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month—a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In June 1977, Representatives Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian/Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint resolution designating the annual celebration. In May 1990, the holiday was expanded further when President George H. W. Bush designated May to be Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.
The Office of Multicultural Student Services looks to sponsor educational programs and activities with the Asian Student Organization during this month(s) and throughout the academic year.
OMSS’S ANNUAL PIGNIC
The Annual OMSS’s PIGNIC has been a tradition through our department for over 25 years. Held in Hemlock Park in Big Rapids, current students, faculty and staff as well as FSU alumni and friends come together to fellowship with free food and music as a way to end the academic year. The PIGNIC precedes the Annual Black Greek Council Step Show held at Williams Auditorium.
T.O.W.E.R.S. PROGRAM END OF YEAR AWARDS
The T.O.W.E.R.S. Multicultural Leadership Development Program Fall semester begins with this opportunity for LEADERS and PROTEGES to be awarded for active participation, and reflect on the year’s programs.
PASSING OF THE TORCH CEREMONY
The Passing of the Torch Ceremony is an event at which minority student organization current leaders symbolically passing the torch on to students who are expected to be the new leaders on campus.
MULTICULTURAL STUDENT GRADUATION RECOGNITION
The Multicultural Student Graduation Recognition is an opportunity for graduating minority students to be recognized for their contributions while on campus, and acknowledgment of their graduation from Ferris State University. Minority students receiving an Associates, Bachelors Masters or Doctorate Degree will be recognized.