The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Six new student organizations join Multicultural Leadership Council

The new members serve Brazilian, Chicanx/Hispanics and Native Americans, Mexican American, multiethnic, rural and South Asian students.
Icons of each new student organization under the MLC umbrella icon. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)
Lexie Perez
Icons of each new student organization under the MLC umbrella icon. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

The Multicultural Leadership Council welcomed six new student organizations this fall: Agni, the Brazilian Student Association, the Mexican American Student Association, Mixed Chicks, Vanderbilt Small Town and Rural Students and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science. 

MLC Vice President Iman Omer, a junior, said the council was “ecstatic” about the new organizations’ interest in joining the MLC, which now represents and supports over 30 member organizations dedicated to culture, diversity and inclusion. 

The process of joining the MLC became more structured during the Fall 2023 semester, according to MLC President and junior Zack Maaieh. An organization must fill out an application on AnchorLink and then pitch their organization at a council meeting before being voted in. 

“The process wasn’t as formalized in the past, and this is the most [organizations] we have had join at one time, but there were around three to four organizations that joined last year,” Maaieh said. “Once an organization is a member of MLC, we support them by including them in the multicultural community and fostering connections between different organizations.”

In addition to fostering community among campus cultural organizations, the MLC also offers its members monetary support for events via co-sponsorships. New this year, however, the Student Organization Funding Committee has set a co-sponsorship limitation, meaning the MLC can only contribute funding to events they co-host, rather than those hosted solely by member organizations.

Meet the new MLC members

Founded in January 2022, Agni is a classical South Asian dance group. They represent four different styles of dance — Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odiss and Bharata Natyam — for which they hold weekly workshops. They also host an annual showcase for performers. Co-Presidents Charu Balamurugan, a junior, and Shadhvika Nandhakumar, a senior, said they wanted to join the MLC to work with other member organizations similarly passionate about cultural diversity. 

“We have partnered with multiple other MLC organizations, such as the Vanderbilt Association of Bengali Students, AASA, Vandy Karma and SACE, as well as other Vanderbilt organizations, including the College Council and Rothschild College, to put on a variety of performances on Vanderbilt’s campus,” Balamurugan and Nandhakumar said. “We were interested in joining the MLC to continue growing amidst a community of people who are equally passionate about increasing opportunities for cultural diversity.”

BRASA aims to connect Brazilian students studying abroad, empower the Brazilian community at Vanderbilt and increase awareness of Brazilian culture and values. BRASA President Livia De Luca Almeida, a senior, hopes that by collaborating and engaging with the MLC, the organization can grow their presence on campus.

MASA seeks to celebrate and share the richness of Mexican culture while fostering community amongst Mexican, Mexican-American and Chicanx students. MASA President Cesar Palacios, a junior, said he is excited by the opportunities the MLC offers for their organization. 

“The Mexican American Student Association was founded recently, three years ago, and I have been able to see our events’ attendance skyrocket from ten to over 100,” Palacios said. “We believe that being a part of this council aligns with our mission by offering a platform to further amplify our voices and contribute to the diverse cultures represented on campus.”

According to its mission statement, Mixed Chicks aims to create a safe and inclusive environment for all multi-ethnic students that celebrates intersectionality. Though the organization initially aimed to provide an affinity space for multiethnic women, junior Jyoti Gandhi Laverack, Co-President of the organization, told The Hustler that she hopes to expand their organization to all genders in the coming months.

“We strive to create a close-knit community of multiethnic students: serve as an affinity group for those who feel as though they don’t have one and serve as an additional affinity group for students who already feel represented by existing cultural organizations,” Gandhi Laverack said. 

Vanderbilt STARS hopes to provide community and career support to students from rural areas adjusting to Vanderbilt’s urban college environment. The organization is also working with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to help engage rural student applicants. 

“We also hope that in our efforts to educate the broader community about the experiences of students from small towns and rural areas, we can highlight the intersectionality of various identities under the rural umbrella through collaborative events with other MLC organizations,” Rohit Kataria, senior and President of STARS, said. 

Vanderbilt’s chapter of SACNAS, a national organization, seeks to support graduate students. Third-year Ph.D. candidate Alan Hurtado, President of SACNAS, said SACNAS joined the MLC to collaborate with other organizations and increase outreach to underrepresented students on campus. 

“We are a graduate student chapter, and our mission is to empower and support underrepresented students in STEM by creating and promoting culturally conscious opportunities for professional development, personal growth, and community building,” Hurtado said. 

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About the Contributors
Arman Amin
Arman Amin, Staff Writer
Arman Amin (‘27) is a student in the College of Arts and Science planning to major in political science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find him listening to music, going for a run or spending time with friends. You can reach him at [email protected].
Shyla Lensing
Shyla Lensing, Staff Writer
Shyla Lensing (‘27) is from Corte Madera, Calif., and is double majoring in human and organizational development and public policy studies in Peabody College. Outside of The Hustler, you can find her running, solving NYT mini crosswords or eating an obscene amount of popcorn. She can be reached at [email protected].
Lexie Perez
Lexie Perez, Graphics Editor
Lexie Perez (‘26) is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in climate studies and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys listening to 70s and 80s pop music, doing the daily Wordle and rooting for the Nashville Predators and Cincinnati Bengals. She can be reached at [email protected].
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