Diversity and Social Justice

Multicultural Programming

Multicultural Programming

Oberlin College welcomes students desirous of experiencing an enriching liberal arts education. Part of that education is learning how to live with others unlike yourself and navigating wants and needs within a diverse community.

As students have opportunities to explore their own cultures and histories, they may also explore the culture and histories of others through many informal and formal programs: music, dances and plays, lectures and speaker series, special dinners at culturally themed or language-based residence halls, open forums, art exhibits, and more.

We encourage you to think and move outside the box, and, in doing so, to fully experience the world around you. Even if that world is in a community of some 2,800 students.

Oberlin’s emphasis on diversity takes shape in its academic offerings, program houses, student organizations, and campus resources.

Academic Offerings

The Office of Admissions’ Multicultural Visit Program introduces students of color to Oberlin. Three times in the fall, the admissions office brings students to campus for a weekend visit. While here, students meet faculty, current students, and admissions staff; tour the campus; and stay overnight in a residence hall. In essence, you experience life as an Oberlin student.

Oberlin's academic departments represent many disciplines, from chemistry to English to sociology. Many departments are interdisciplinary in nature, including Africana studies, Hispanic studies, East Asian studies, environmental studies, and comparative American studies, among others. Faculty from these and other departments collaborate with staff from the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) to build intellectual and personal community for themselves, and to connect and work together with students.

Once a student here, you’ll be required to take coursework emphasizing crosscultural and multicultural awareness, often through an analysis of power and oppression. By observing distinctions in class, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, and sexual orientation, you’ll be able to comprehend the differences that have historically set social groups apart from one another and develop a greater capacity for intellectual open-mindedness and tolerance.

Program Housing

Students who attend Oberlin may choose to live in one of 10 college-owned Program Houses that offer distinct communities. These themed living groups are open to students committed to a range of common social, cultural, and academic interests.

Four language-based halls provide support in learning French, German, Russian, and Spanish. Others focus on the appreciation and discovery of different ethnic traditions and histories. They are Afrikan Heritage House Lord-Saunders, Asia House, Third World House, Baldwin Women’s Collective, and Hebrew Heritage House. These five Program Houses offer you a support network of students, faculty, and staff who identify with a particular culture or ethnicity.

Student Organizations

You’ll find more than 175 student organizations here focusing on an array of interests—sports, religion, politics, the environment, health, and much more. Wilder Hall, our Student Union, is the hub for most campus and student organizations, with space for offices, meetings, small group gatherings, events, and other services. On any given day, students set up banners and information tables in Wilder inviting classmates to buy tickets, sign petitions, and get involved.

Campus Resources

Created in 2000, the Office of the Ombudsperson's central role is to help improve the quality of campus discourse by providing individuals with the skills to resolve conflicts, solve problems, and communicate more effectively.

The ombudsperson also oversees the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue at Oberlin College or YBDC, which promotes social change through conflict transformation, mediation, community building, and dialogue. The center's ethnically diverse mediation team includes students, faculty, and staff who are trained to facilitate contentious discussions and mediate disputes.

The team also sponsors educational forums, workshops, and mediation training for student groups, administrative offices, and faculty groups.

In addition, our Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) offers resources for faculty, staff, and especially students interested in academic and community building programs, and educational workshops related to multiculturalism within a social justice context. Whether you are interested in such annual observances as Latinx Heritage Month, Black History Celebration, and the Indigenous Women’s Series, or you want to organize a program or event yourself, MRC is the place to go for guidance and support.

The MRC also is a resource for historically underrepresented communities in higher education. The MRC supports the academic and personal needs of students of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and addresses the concerns of low-income, international, and first-generation college students.