Hoping to break down the barriers

Tracy Deutmeyer

After a two-year absence, the Multicultural Task Force is back on its feet.

The Multicultural Task Force, which started again this semester after running out of funds in 1994, seeks to “enhance the diversity agenda with group collaboration,” said interim vice president of student affairs Dan Robinson.

The task force, which is now jointly funded by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, helps fund lectures, films and cultural events that have an “educational focus and are aimed at increasing multicultural awareness.”

The task force, co-chaired by Robinson and Adin Mann, an associate professor of aerospace engineering, is made up of representatives from faculty, staff and more than 20 student organizations, said Pat Miller, coordinator of the ISU Lectures Program. Miller’s program helps find staff support for the task force.

“It’s very valuable; it brings students together that normally aren’t together,” Miller said.

Edwin Lewis, associate provost, said the task force has about $5,000 in project support for the remainder of this fiscal year.

The task force has had just two meetings, but it has already agreed to help fund a variety of events including the Parade of Nations for the Pacific Heritage Week beginning March 24.

Grif Kolberg, the Asian Pacific American Awareness Coalition representative to the task force, said he wasn’t sure of the task force’s goals or structure at the first meeting, but he now thinks the group is heading in the right direction.

“It’s like an outreach group that will help fund events so all students can be educated about multicultural awareness,” he said.

Lewis said officials do not yet know how the task force will be funded after July 1.

Washington Braida, president of the Latino Council, said the task force will help find funds for multicultural activities sponsored by various organizations.