Roger Life Stories

Roger Life: Keeping Focus on Social Justice, with MSU Leaders

By Anna Cohen
image of MSU President Jeraldyn Ramirez and Public Relations Chair Nathalie Rodriguez tabling during Stay Woke Week
Multicultural Student Union President Jeraldyn Ramirez, left, and Public Relations Chair Nathalie Rodriguez, at a recent Stay Woke Week event.

RWU’s Multicultural Student Union (MSU,) an organization that works to promote social justice, equity, and cultural awareness, has been hosting activities daily this week during Stay Woke Week, focused on topical social justice issues including anti-Asian hate crimes, mental health, and cultural appropriation, as well as a COVID relief clothing drive. Jeraldyn Ramirez, a sophomore, serves as MSU president, and first-year student Nathalie Rodriguez serves as public relations chair. 

Feeling Connected to a Movement: "I joined the MSU because it spoke to me," Rodriguez said. "It was a way I could be involved and talk about issues with other people who look like me. It is a way I can help myself and others. With our weekly meetings, I have people I can go to if I need anything, and I feel more connected to our movement." 

Respected in the RWU Community: “The administration, faculty, and staff look at me with the utmost respect. They are always looking for the MSU’s feedback and want us to be involved with social justice issues on campus," Ramirez said. "Being a predominantly white institution, I think it is essential for us to bring these topics up. What better way than to be in a space where you feel comfortable enough to ask a question? Overall, Stay Woke Week is necessary in the climate we are in. We need things like this to occur. ” 

Encouraging Students to Take a Break: "I wanted to put on the Mental Health event because I know a lot of people are burned out from all we've being going through with COVID. It’s been draining," said Rodriguez. "This event was for students to take a break and look after their mental health. I set up seven different stations. They made lip scrubs and stress balls to use when they feel stressed. We had a meditation room with music, a coloring station, a food station with brownies and cookies, and board games and puzzles so students could play and relax."

We’re Family with A Lot to Talk About: “There has been so much going on in the world, and our members have been going through a lot. We need to talk about it," Ramirez said. "These social justice topics affect me, so if I didn’t have an outlet to discuss them, how would I focus on school? The MSU has a group chat and we are constantly emailing, not just, ‘We have a meeting today at 5,’ but, ‘How is everybody doing? Does anyone have anything they want to talk to us about?’ It goes way beyond our meetings. At the end of the day we’re a community and a family.”

Ramirez is a majoring in Anthropology + Sociology and Cultural Studies. Rodriguez is Undeclared. Both are from Providence, R.I.  

Stay Woke Week Spring 2021 Mental Health Event

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