Multicultural Student Services + Pride Center

Table with sign saying You Belong Here

Welcome students and community!

The Multicultural Student Services and Pride Center team is deeply committed to supporting the needs of the many 91Թ˵ijԹ student communities. Our department oversees two centers on campus and a number of programs that are dedicated to fostering culturally diverse community engagement. MSS and the Pride Center celebrate the cultural assets of students with marginalized identities and work to transform societal norms to build a campus community where all students can thrive as their full authentic selves. We strive to challenge societal norms through collective impact and a justice-equity centered approach. 
We look forward to getting to know you and co-creating a more equitable 91Թ˵ijԹ community together. We hope you will join us in sharing your traditions, successes, passions and dreams. We also hope you join us when you have something to work through or need a listening ear. Stop by for a warm cup of coffee, a place to find connection, or just to take a look. Check out one of our social events! We host regular socials and educational events throughout each semester.

In community,
The MSS team

Multicultural Center Resources

MSS includes a dedicated space and programs that foster culturally diverse community engagement. MSS celebrates the cultural assets of students with marginalized identities and works to transform societal norms to build a campus community where all students can thrive as their full authentic selves. This is a safe and brave space for all members of the 91Թ˵ijԹ community to explore racial and cultural identity in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
Our space and resources are open to all students, staff, faculty and 91Թ˵ijԹ community.
    • Lounge and study area
    • Computers and printers
    • Laptops for students to check out
    • Library of books on numerous social justice topics
    • Multifaith Prayer Room and Low Stimulation Space
    • Community information and resources
    • Coffee maker, water kettle, refrigerator, and microwave
    • Affiliated club storage
 
MSS
pride

Pride Center Resources

This center seeks to affirm, uplift, and engage those who identify as LGBTQIA2S+ through fostering a sense of community and belonging, co-creating meaningful engagement for holistic student development, and transforming the cultural roots of systemic inequities. We provide programs and support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit members of the 91Թ˵ijԹ community and their allies. This is a safe and brave space for all members of the 91Թ˵ijԹ community to explore gender identity and sexual orientation in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
Our space and resources are open to all students, staff, faculty and 91Թ˵ijԹ community.
    • Lounge and study area
    • Library of books on LGBTQIA2S+ Topics
    • Low Stimulation Space
    • Community information and resources
    • Coffee maker, water kettle, refrigerator, and microwave
    • Crafting area

91Թ˵ijԹ Multicultural

Visit the Multicultural Center in

Rasmuson Hall 106
3416 Seawolf Dr.
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-4070
Email: uaa.mss@alaska.edu
Instagram:

Photo collage of MSS events

Pride Center

91Թ˵ijԹ Pride Center

Join us at the

University Hub, Lower Level Student Union
2801 Spirit Way
Anchorage, AK 99508
Phone: (907) 786-6464
Email: uaa.pride@alaska.edu
Instagram:

Mission

MSS at 91Թ˵ijԹ is committed to uplifting students with marginalized identities through fostering a sense of community and belonging, co-creating meaningful engagement for holistic student development, and transforming the cultural roots of systemic inequities.

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Vision

To build a university community where all students, especially those with marginalized identities, thrive.

MSS specifically works to center and uplift students who identify as Black, African American, Indigenous, Native American, Hispanic, Latine/x/a/o, Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern & North African, multiracial, or mixed heritage; LGBTQIA2S+ students; students who practice marginalized religions and international students.

Get connected with MSS!

The Multicultural Student Services team is deeply committed to supporting the needs of the many 91Թ˵ijԹ student communities. MSS includes a dedicated space and programs that foster culturally diverse community engagement. MSS celebrates the cultural assets of students with marginalized identities and works to transform societal norms to build a campus community where all students can thrive as their full authentic selves.

JEDI Alliance 2023

JEDI Alliance (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion)

The JEDI Alliance is a cohort of student advocates and leaders at 91Թ˵ijԹ Multicultural Student Services who are committed to the advancement of social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) at 91Թ˵ijԹ. They are dedicated to promoting belonging, celebrating diverse identities, building meaningful relationships, and educating the campus community about JEDI. JEDI Alliance members meet on a biweekly basis, serve on a committee*, develop and facilitate programming, collaborate with staff and student groups, and are eligible for scholarship awards for their commitment.  *Committees include Advocacy and Awareness, JEDI Adventures, and PR and Outreach.

Apply to become a part of the JEDI Alliance at !

Pride

Rainbow Initiatives

Rainbow Initiatives are 91Թ˵ijԹ’s dedication of time, space and energy to our Queer/Trans/LGBTQIA2S+ community. Housed at our beautiful Pride Center in the Student union, Rainbow Initiatives is the umbrella program that provides a space, events and programming to support the belonging, engagement and holistic wellbeing of our community members. We center, uplift and advocate for our queer/trans community at 91Թ˵ijԹ so we can live our most authentic, successful and full lives here.

JEDI Alliance

Global Seawolves

The Multicultural Center is a social hub for all students on campus, but we specifically highlight and celebrate our community members who are here studying from abroad. Each year there are approximately 30-50 international students with an average of 25 countries represented. 

All new international students are guided through their arrival and orientation experience. MSS and our partners facilitate opportunities to celebrate our global communities here in Anchorage. Students are invited to attend Global Seawolves social events and programs throughout the academic year.

BIPOC Initiatives

BIPOC Initiatives

Many of our programs through the Pride Center and the Multicultural Center are here to create opportunities for making new connections. We know that building a community and network of friends is critical to the college student experience. 91Թ˵ijԹ has many diverse communities and non-traditional students. There is something in MSS for everyone regardless of your age, degree program and intersectional social identities. Take a leap and meet some new people outside of your classrooms. Join us for “Connect” events and various socials such as Global Seawolves Connect, BIPOC Connect and Rainbow Connect. Let us know how you want to further develop your intersectional communities here on campus.

Multifaith

Multifaith and Low Stimulation Spaces

The 91Թ˵ijԹ is a public institution with students who practice many different faiths in many diverse ways. MSS’s mission includes supporting students with marginalized religions by promoting inclusion through education, naming observances, and creating safe spaces throughout campus. 

These spaces and affiliated programs have been championed by student leadership with administrative support by the 91Թ˵ijԹ Marginalized Religions workgroup (MRW). MRW  is composed of students, staff, and faculty who advocate for multifaith spaces on campus.The first multifaith space on the Anchorage campus is located inside of MSS in Rasmuson Hall 106B and was supported by our student body government, US91Թ˵ijԹ. Student leaders have lovingly developed the multifaith prayer and meditation initiatives. 

The Pride Center houses a “low stimulation” environment to provide additional quiet, non-stimulating locations for students who may need to take a break. These spaces are non-reservable and available for use when campus is open. This program aims to offer quiet spaces for students to engage in personal religious practice and has been developed intentionally with the inclusion of marginalized religions in mind. All are welcome to use this space for individual quiet contemplation, prayer, meditation, bereavement and healing.

Social Justice

Social Justice Education and Development

Multicultural Student Services regularly facilitates opportunities for social justice education, civic engagement and dialogue. The JEDI Alliance is rooted in the student-driven and peer-to-peer educational opportunities. We host Conversation Cafes, Listening Sessions and Intergroup Dialogue experiences. We welcome you to consider bringing forth a social issue or topic to engage in dialogue. Many of our programs highlight student and faculty contributions here on campus. We love to partner with various departments and student organizations to create platforms for cross-dialogue. This social justice work is a co-curricular opportunity to further your professional development while you study here.

JEDI Alliance

Affinity Events

MSS wants you to be in community with peers, staff and faculty here on campus. We seek to create opportunities where you can share your stories in a safe space. Many of our programs and events are considered affinity spaces, including but not limited to the “Being” Series. The purpose of the “Being” Series is to create affinity spaces for students, staff and faculty with marginalized identities. “Being” events aim to create a supportive learning environment to lean into the commonalities, to further unpack identity, and build a sense of community. These programs and additional affinity events across campus help to build a connection in our commonalities, discuss the ways we navigate having similar and different racialized experiences and share and connect ways of ‘being’ here on campus. 

soe

Academic, Engagement, and Advocacy Scholarships 

The Multicultural Center and Pride Center proudly facilitate various academic, leadership, art justice, and advocacy scholarships. There are many different ways to engage with our department through peer leadership and service contributions. This initiative seeks to award student facilitators and leaders for the engagement and work at MSS and beyond.

Students of Excellence* is a cohort-based leadership program for students beginning in their junior year of college. SoE seeks to honor the contributions of our dedicated student leaders through meaningful reflection and leadership development. SoE offers an opportunity for students to prepare for the transition out of college through engaging opportunities that develop community-based leadership, critical consciousness, and civic engagement. Each spring semester, juniors are invited to apply to this prestigious scholarship and leadership cohort.

Cultural and Identity-based Student Organizations Support

Student Organizations

MSS and The Pride Center enthusiastically support cultural and identity-based Student Organizations. Many student organizations seek out our centers for holding meetings, hosting events and seeking adviser support. If you want your student organization to collaborate with MSS- stop by our centers and chat with staff about ways you want to be supported. Our current affiliations with Student Org Services (SOS) include: 

      • International Student Organization (ISO)
      • Muslim Student Association (MSA)
      • Kabayan Community (Filipino Org.)
      • People of Oceania Association (POA)
      • The Family (LGBTQIA2S+ Student Org)
      • The Feminist Intersectional Rights Movement (The FIRM)
      • ACLU of 91Թ˵ijԹ Action Network (Student org affiliated with the ACLU)

Our Team

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Sara Caldwell-Kan (she/they)

Director, Multicultural Student Services
smcaldwellkan@alaska.edu

Sara Caldwell-Kan (she/they) is an activist, scholar, dreamer and long time higher education professional. She is a PhD Candidate in Education with a background in public health, diversity & inclusion, and equity. Sara’s work is centered on uplifting students and transforming higher education to be an institution where all students can be their full selves all the time. She believes that wellness is wholeness and imagines a future where we can embrace our full selves, including our ancestral strength, to build a collective community of love.
  • Favorite thing about MSS: MSS nurtures our need to connect and find community and inspires us to embrace all dimensions of ourselves.
  • Favorite Activities: I love to be outside as much as possible. I find great enjoyment in learning new things, and challenging people’s notions of what it means to be outdoorsy. I also love cyclocross and racing around on my bike, though I am not a particularly great racer.
  • Rejuvenating Practice: TBH, I love to read romance novels. There are so many beautiful stories of love in all forms, and I love that I can trust that a book will end positively.
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simone-calais staley (SHE & HER)

Assistant Director for Social Justice and Inclusion, Multicultural Student Services
scstaley@alaska.edu

Hello friends! I am the new AD for Social Justice and Inclusion with the Multicultural Student Services office! I just moved from Bellingham, Washington to Anchorage. I also have communities in Seattle, WA and Lewiston, ID. I attended Western Washington University and studied Recreation Management including two academic minors in Environmental Education and Queer Studies. I attended a graduate school at Seattle University and earned a M.Ed. (Masters of Education) in student affairs practice. I most recently worked at the University of Washington Seattle campus. I am passionate about civic engagement, leadership development, social consciousness and community! I am thrilled to be here at 91Թ˵ijԹ and honored to be serving the students of this campus!

  • Favorite thing about MSS: Our centers on campus are a home away from home, even for me as a staff member. I had not even visited 91Թ˵ijԹ before moving to Anchorage for this job. The Pride Center and the MSS Center have allowed me to feel safe, seen, and heard. The friends I see visiting these spaces reminds me daily that I too belong here at 91Թ˵ijԹ.
  • Activities and hobbies: I enjoy trying anything once! Let me know what you do for fun and maybe I will give it a try! I am looking for some new hobbies here in AK. Please share your interests with me.
  • Rejuvenating Practice: Animal therapy! I definitely need an animal around my life to get that emotional support and company. I also try to practice saying “no,” stepping back, and taking time for myself when I am feeling overwhelmed.
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Jessi Saiki (they/them)

Engagement and Belonging Coordinator
jmsaiki@alaska.edu

Jessi Saiki (they/them) is an artist, advocate and 91Թ˵ijԹ Alumni with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in handbuilt ceramic sculpture. They wrote their thesis on neurodivergence and art therapy. Jessi loves to do art, play video games and spend time with animals. They also love to be active in the community attending and supporting the organization of rallys, protests and mutual aid efforts.

As an Engagement and Belonging coordinator Jessi supports the belonging of BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+, neurodivergent identities and all the lovely intersections our identities can have. Jessi lovingly focuses on our Rainbow Initiatives, which supports and celebrates our LGBTQIA2S+ community through programs, events and awareness initiatives.

  • Favorite thing about MSS: At MSS we have freedom to be fully ourselves and support to pursue social justice and envision a better future.
  • Favorite animals: my favorite animals are cats, axolotls and japanese dwarf flying squirrels! 
  • Rejuvenating Practice: Journaling, spending time with my emotional support animals, going for a walk!
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Quacyya Cuaresma (she/her)

Engagement and Belonging Coordinator
qmcuaresma@alaska.edu

Quacyya Cuaresma (she/her) is a Student Engagement and Belonging Coordinator at MSS! She is a lifelong 91Թ˵ijԹn born and raised on Dena’ina lands. She earned her BS Health Sciences degree at 91Թ˵ijԹ and has been involved with Multicultural Student Services (formerly Multicultural Center) since 2017. She is now pursuing a Master of Public Health at 91Թ˵ijԹ! Her background is in health education, particularly domestic violence and sexual assault prevention. She is an advocate for community wellness, equity, and inclusion. Quacyya’s focus at MSS includes the JEDI Leadership Program, belonging initiatives and programming for students of color, and supporting programs for the range of marginalized and intersecting identities represented at 91Թ˵ijԹ.

  • Favorite thing about MSS: I appreciate that MSS provides a safe, affirming space and programming for students of marginalized and intersecting identities. We want students to feel they are seen, heard, and valued!
  • Favorite animals and activities: I enjoy outdoor activities such as walking with my pup, hiking, camping, and biking. I love gatherings with my loved ones and tasty food!
  • Rejuvenating Practice: Daily movement, especially if it is outdoors where I can enjoy fresh air and the beauty of the land.
 
 
 
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Riley August Russell (they/them)

Clinical-Community Psychology PhD student 
rarussell2@alaska.edu

Riley August Russell (they/them) is a 4th year Clinical-Community Psychology PhD student who is interested in utilizing research and activism to assist communities in achieving their goals. Riley also holds an MS & MA in Clinical Psychology from 91Թ˵ijԹ and Teachers College Columbia University, respectively. They are excited to be volunteering with MSS & the Pride Center as part of their program. Riley is very interested in hearing from students, faculty, and staff about future directions or areas that could benefit from further assistance, so please feel free to reach out to them or say hi if you see them around!

  • Favorite thing about MSS:  Every component of MSS and the Pride Center is a labor of love for passionate staff and students. It's a place where authenticity is rewarded, and differences are celebrated rather than stifled.
  • Favorite animals and activities: Never met an animal I didn't like. My most common hobby is to take up an instrument for about 3-6 months and then move to the next one before mastering the first. I am currently on the drums, which my friends aren't a fan of. 
  • Rejuvenating Practice:  I do utilize a lot of the skills I teach others--breathing, grounding, and movement techniques--but I think the most rejuvenating practice I have is building in quiet time. The rest of the time, I am trying to watch all of television; I'll get there someday.