Wildcat Connection lists exactly 100 student groups in the "cultural" category, from the African Students Association to the Women in Leadership program, but, before this year, none had addressed the mixed-race community specifically.
MIXED, formally known as the Mixed Race Student Coalition, held its first official meeting Tuesday night, beginning what co-presidents and founders Tori Marquez and Kalina Silverman hope will be a student group that can provide a safe space for mixed-race students on campus, as well as students interested in mixed-race culture.
More than 40 students attended Tuesday's meeting, where the seven executives of the group led introductions, icebreakers and small group discussions in a tucked away classroom of Seabury.
Marquez, a SESP sophomore, was smiling widely after the meeting was finished. "It was really good, especially for the first club of the year," Marquez said. "People seemed really willing to respond to the questions we posed in the breakout sessions. It's a really good sign because one of our goals for the first quarter is to have people open up."
As the year develops, the group will "focus on community building and support," Silverman, a Medill sophomore, said. Later in the year, they plan to "get into more politically based discussions," she said.
McCormick sophomore Rafael Henriquez said the meeting had a lot more people than he expected. "It's going to be a really great way for students on campus who don't feel like they belong to any of the other groups to get to know each other," Henriquez said. "It's more than a club for people to know each other. It's a way for people to get to know themselves and their culture."
Medill professor Loren Ghiglione is writing a book about a cross-country trip he took with a couple of Medill students interviewing people about issues of race, sexual orientation and immigration. He was looking for signs of progress on these issues to add to his epilogue when he was saw that an organization like MIXED could be a good example.
"It's true, there are organizations like this elsewhere, but not many of them," Ghiglione said. "I thought the turnout [of the meeting] was excellent."
Marquez and Silverman were inspired to start the coalition while at Six Flags Great America during last year's Wildcat Welcome, when they bonded over identifying as "halfies" and recognized the activities fair had no clubs like the one they have created. They held an unofficial meeting last May with about 20 attendees to brainstorm ideas for the group this year. Over the summer, they pushed to gain official recognition from Multicultural Student Affairs in order to recruit freshmen during this year's activities fair.
MIXED's next social event will be an ice cream social on Oct. 13 in Harris L07.
"We have a pretty nice grant for this ice cream social," Silverman said, "so there are gonna be a lot of toppings."