Section: News

New affinity group will serve multicultural students

Victoria Kerrigan ’25, Cloe DeCristoforo ’24 and Carissa Kieger ’24 have created a new affinity group dedicated to creating a space for students who fall between racial or cultural backgrounds: specifically multicultural, multiracial or adoptee students.

 Kerrigan, DeCristoforo and Kieger frequently discussed aspects of identity and belonging with each other before founding the affinity group. Kieger and Kerrigan are biracial, while DeCristoforo is an adoptee who grew up with white parents in a mostly white town. Finding their conversations about identity to be empowering, and convinced a larger support network would benefit participants, the three decided to start an affinity group for multiracial, multicultural and adoptee students. It is the first affinity group dedicated to students with these experiences at Kenyon, though other colleges have similar groups.

DeCristoforo, Kieger and Kerrigan have far-ranging ideas of what group discussions may cover. “We want to find more people like us who have had similar experiences growing up and existing in different environments in our unique bodies,” Kieger wrote in an email to the Collegian. “We want to question the need for labels and create a dialogue about what it means to be uniquely ourselves, what it means to ‘pass’ or ‘code switch,’ how we relate to other people, how we interact with our families, [and] how we fit into different spaces.”

A group specifically dedicated to experiences at multicultural intersections can center on different issues — such as those described above — and directly address the questions multicultural students face. The founders of the group also noted that since such a group would draw from many cultural backgrounds, attending meetings could be an educational opportunity to learn from peers about intersectional experiences other than their own. For instance, including transcultural adoptees — whose experiences differ from those of multicultural students — might allow them to compare their experiences.

Kerrigan sent an all-student interest email to the student body on Jan. 19, and the group has since held two meetings. The three founders are  optimistic about the group’s growth as awareness builds. To learn more about the group or ask to join future meetings, the founders are reachable through their email addresses: kerrigan1@kenyon.edu, kieger1@kenyon.edu and decristoforo1@kenyon.edu.

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