The Multicultural Affairs Advisory Council (MAAC) is an advocacy group comprised of a broad representation of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering undergraduate students who work collectively toward continually enhancing the programs and services of Multicultural Affairs; evaluating the needs of our diverse undergraduate student population; identifying relevant campus issues; and promoting a campus environment of inclusion, self-awareness, intercultural engagement and social responsibility. MAAC is comprised of four collaborative but distinct advisory boards:
- First-Gen Student Advisory Board (FAB)
- International Student Advisory Board (ISAB)
- Queer and Trans Student Advisory Board (QTAB)
- Student of Color Advisory Board (SOCAB)
The Multicultural Affairs Advisory Council is a non-hierarchical transparent organization, composed of Columbia College and Columbia Engineering undergraduates, working toward a more respectful, accountable and socially just campus environment. In partnership with students, student organizations, Multicultural Affairs and campus offices, we strive to continue creating a university community in which students of all identities are supported, valued and celebrated. We seek:
- To be an accessible and visible resource for the entire student community
- To keep the University accountable and responsive to students and their concerns
- To provide avenues for the administration to better understand student concerns
- To hold ourselves accountable to students and be open to critique and challenge
- To support efforts addressing bias and hate in the Columbia community
- To provide and promote safe spaces for challenging dialogue about all students’ experiences and concerns related to identity
- To better enable varying communities to connect, collaborate and recognize common ground
- To ally with and support students in marginalized communities
- To support and connect with groups whose missions include anti-oppression education and awareness
- To recognize students’ simultaneous connections to multiple communities on campus
We commit to the above to better enable Multicultural Affairs to fulfill its goals and its work with campus partners.
(Written by Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board student members, September 2012)
MAAC's Relationship to the Advisory Boards
MAAC is the conglomerate of the four advisory boards. While each board has separate meetings and projects throughout the year, all four boards come together to form MAAC. As MAAC, they meet at least once a semester, namely for a joint weekend retreat and planning meeting at the beginning of each semester.
MAAC, whether as a whole group or having representatives from each board, can also be called upon and convened when complicated and/or intersectional campus issues need to be addressed. They also can serve as resources to each other for collaborations, consultations and addressing shared campus issues.
While each board focuses on a particular community's needs and advocacy points, they approach their work with a shared understanding of their collective purpose, requirements and expectations (outlined below).
Shared Functions of the Advisory Boards
MAAC's advisory boards focus on advocacy, rather than programming. While each advisory board has a unique community focus and way in which it enacts its work, they all share these common advocacy functions as they serve our undergraduate students in Columbia College and Columbia Engineering:
- Outreaching to and developing connections with relevant student communities and organizations
- Understanding student experiences and identifying key issues within their focus community
- Sharing information gathered with campus partners, including Multicultural Affairs
- Working with students and relevant offices to develop recommendations for addressing identified issues
- Providing critical feedback and suggestions to initiatives being developed and implemented by campus partners
- Spearheading or supporting relevant advocacy projects and awareness campaigns on campus
Shared Expectations and Requirements of Advisory Board Members
As members of an advisory board within MAAC, students are required to:
- Be a currently enrolled undergraduate student in Columbia College or Columbia Engineering
- Be in good University and Community Standing
- Be able to fully commit their participation to MAAC for the entirety of the academic year
- Attend a weekend MAAC retreat and advisory board planning meeting at the beginning of each semester
- Attend at least two hours of regular meetings within every two-week period
We expect for all members to be open to discussing challenging topics and campus issues; be collaborative advocates; be willing to challenge and be challenged; actively contribute to meetings and activities of the boards; and be passionate about working toward a truly inclusive and just campus community.