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 Office of Multicultural Affairs

  OMA Graduation 2014

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About Us
RVCC Diversity Statement
OMA Staff
RVCC Affinity Org & Depts
Heritage Series Calendar
Podcasts of Diversity Programs
Malcolm Bernard Historically Black College & Universities College Fair
"From Boys to Men" Conference
MLK Drum Major for Justice Awards
Diversity Grants
Sister to Sister & Brothers Helping Brothers
Study Group
MILE(Multicultural Initiative for Leadership & Excellence 
Kente Ceremony
Paul Robeson


About Us: 

The Office of Multicultural Affairs(OMA) seeks to increase access and equity for historically underrepresented groups, improve campus climate by fostering an inclusive and civil community and cultivate diversity awareness and appreciation. In this role the Office sponsors educational training and programs that are responsive to the changing demographics and growing diversity; implements recruitment and retention strategies for employees and students and coordinates community outreach.  OMA works collaboratively to develop programs that support an inclusive community among all students and employees and promote the academic mission and strategic plan of the College. 

Contact us at: 

Location: College Center, Room 205 

Telephone: 908-526-1200, X8636 & X8939 

Email: rdashiel@raritanval.edu  - Dean of Multicultural Affairs, Mrs. Richeleen Dashield

RVCC Diversity Statement: Raritan Valley Community College values all aspects of diversity including but not limited to race, sexual orientation, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability, socioeconomic status, and political and philosophical perspectives. We rely on diversity to enrich the intellectual environment for students and employees. We support educational access and opportunity by recruiting and retaining a diverse college community. We foster diversity by developing and maintaining curricular and social programs that infuse the contributions of all people, and by preparing students to excel in a global society. Our commitment to diversity is reflected in the College’s Mission Statement and Strategic Goals, all of which support excellence in teaching, learning and professional development in a welcoming and respectful climate.  

OMA Staff 

Richeleen Dashield,
Dean of Multicultural Affairs

DeansfinalcroppedRicheleen Dashield assumed the duties of Dean of Multicultural Affairs at Raritan Valley Community College in October 2010. Under her leadership, she has garnered national accolades for Raritan’s diversity program with the 2012 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.Also Dashield has been selected as a recipient of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine's 2014 Diversity Visionary Award. This honor is the only individual national award for diversity in the nation, and Dashield is the only recipient from New Jersey or Pennsylvania. According to the magazine's publisher, Dashield is receiving the award as a tribute to her past and present contributions, future vision, dedication, and long-term commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Prior to her appointment as dean, she served as director of social equity at West Chester University. While at West Chester, her service activities within the university are extensive, including West Chester’s Campus Climate Intervention Team, Multicultural Faculty Commission, Frederick Douglass Society, Frederick Douglass Institute and PA System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Cornerstone of Excellence Diversity Strategic Plan.  Since 1989, she has served at Kean University as assistant director for student life and leadership, director of affirmative action programs, director of human resources and director of cooperative education. She received the President’s Award at Kean for five consecutive years. While at Kean, Dashield taught classes, gave training programs, conferences and lectures, administered labor agreements and coordinated employee orientations and recruitment fairs. She also co-authored and administered Kean’s first policy and procedures for reporting discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. Dashield received her bachelor’s degree from Colgate University and MBA from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Eva Fontanez,
Administrative Assistant II

Eva Fontanez 
Eva was born in the Bronx, New York to Puerto Rican parents.  She comes from a big family, the 7 th childof 8.  Currently, she has 23 nephews & nieces and over 31 great-nephews &nieces.   Eva was raised in New Jersey and New York andenjoys cultural events and sports – especially her New York Yankees.  She studied Secretarial and Business Studiesat Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College in the Bronx, and then moved toPuerto Rico at the age of 21.  She workedas a receptionist for Ex-Lax Pharmaceuticals for 2 years and moved to Secretaryto Executive Director at Palmas del Mar Residential Resort for 6 years; movedback to New Jersey in 1989.  

In August 1990 Eva was employed by RVCC to work on a 3-year ChallengeGrant.  She was the second Latinoemployee on campus at that time.  In 1993Eva was asked to help start up and advise the Orgullo Latino Club; through OLC,she brought “Hispanic Heritage Month” to RVCC.  In 1996 she and OLC founded the C.R.E.C.E.R.Program (Caring, Reaching, Educating,Connecting, Enriching, & Reaping).  It’sa high school outreach programs which promotes college education among youngLatinos; where our RVCC Latino students act as mentors to these young highschool students and motivate to continue their education beyond high school.  In 2005, Eva and her other Co-Advisorspresented a CRECER Workshop at NJCCC Best Practices Conference at Mercer CountyCollege. In 2014 OLC sponsored their 17 th Annual CRECER Program withover 120 participants.  RVCC Class of2014 had 10 former CRECER Participants.  

At the end of the 3-Year Challenge Grant Eva continued at RVCC in the followingdepartments – Career Services, Student Activities, Franklin Center, Purchasing,Academic Resources, Facilities & Grounds, College Advancement/Foundationand has now moved to the Office of Multicultural Affairs.   Eva has a Certificate in Office Systems& Technology; an Associate Degree in Business Administration and is 3credits shy of earning an Event Planning & Meeting Management Certificate.  “ I hope to continue to work together withDean Richeleen Dashield to bring more innovative & diverse events, where wecan all learn from each other and make RVCC a better place. “-- Eva Fontanez.

OMA Student Staff:    

  • Carlotta Atkins - Student Intern  

  • Dhruv Patel - Student Worker  

  • Geolenne Velasquez - Student Worker  

  • Ana Pareja - Student Worker  



RVCC Affinity Organizations and Departments
•             Alliance - LGBT  
•             Asian Pacific Islander Committee 
•             Association for Black Faculty and Staff 
•             Black History Month Committee 
•             Boys to Men Conference 
•             Brothers Helping Brothers 
•             College Forum Steering Committee 
•             Diversity Council 
•             Equal Opportunity Fund Programs 
•             First Year Experience 
•             Hispanic Heritage Month Committee 
•             MLK Day of Service Committee 
•             Orgullo Latino – CRECER 
•             Paul Robeson Institute 
•             Filipino PEACE Club 
•             Sisters to Sisters Network 
•             Sustainability Committee 
•             Women and Gender Studies 


Heritage Series Calendar  

The Heritage Series is a year-long collaborative and inclusive partnership with students, faculty and staff representing a cross sectional of academic and administrative offices.The central goals of the heritage series are imbedded in supporting the RVCC curriculum and developing co-curricular programs that foster intercultural and international competencies.  Likewise, the heritage series of programs are directly linked to the RVCC’s Strategic Plan and Middle States Accreditation Standards along with the RVCC Diversity Statement. A wide array of educational awareness programs were offered to students, faculty, staff and local citizens to promote diversity, inclusion and equity.  See most currently posted Heritage Series Calendar.  


Podcasts of Diversity Programs 
Podcasts are an excellent on-line resource of presentations by leading scholars on diversity. Podcast expands outreach to internal and external audiences as serving as a teaching and learning resource. Each year, our library of resources expand along with our outreach to an international audience. Our programs are cataloged under the headings: Multicultural Affairs lectures, Black History Month lectures and Women’s History Month lectures. http://www.raritanval.edu/community/podcasting/index.html

Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities College Fair

Malcolm Bernard is a non-profit organization founded in Somerset County and serves students in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York.  RVCC has partner with the New Jersey Department of Education and Malcolm Bernard organization for over 10 years. Raritan served as host site for many years and offer high school students college information from 40 admissions representatives, motivational speaker and presentation on RVCC’s student services (admissions, financial aid and EOF). The fair will be held at RVCC on Thursday, November 20, 2014.  To register:http://www.formstack.com/forms/?1584035-OFizMatOOB .  

 “From Boys to Men” Conference

The From Boys to Men Conference is a joint partnership between Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and the New Brunswick (NJ) Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.  Together, these organizations serve the community by exposing youth to educational access and providing real-life examples of men with a purpose of achievement.  Since 2009, this one-day event, held on the campus of RVCC, has inspired over 1, 000 young high school men to establish goals and to make sustainable contributions to their homes, neighborhoods, schools and communities.  The goal is to provide African American and Latino high school male students with the tools for college preparation and career advancement. Student workshops are facilitated by Kappa Alpha Psi Graduate Chapter (African American business professionals) and Counselor workshops are facilitated by RVCC staff.  The conference will be held on Friday, April 24, 2015.  Please contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs to register. 

 MLK Drum Major for Justice Awards

Raritan Valley Community College celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with our Annual Community Partner Breakfast which honors local community partners who provide service learning opportunities to the students. All honored organizations serve disadvantaged populations, at-risk children and youth, homeless, disabled, elderly, homebound, other diverse under-served populations.  Service learning projects create intellectual and experiential understandings of civic engagement for students, faculty and community members. This annual event is in partnership with the MLK 365/Greater Philadelphia MLK Day of Service.  
2014 Honorees:  
Adult Day Center of Somerset County, Agape House, America's Grow-a-Row, Arc of Hunterdon, Arc of Somerset County, Bernardsville Public Library, Branchburg Central Middle School, Bridgewater Care Center, Center for Great Expectations, Center for Great Expectations, Chelsea at Warren Assisted Living, Conerly Road School/ Franklin Township Schools, Duke Farms Foundation, Eisenhower Intermediate School, Faber Elementary School, Flemington Area Food Pantry, Franklin Township Foodbank, Freedom House, Good News Home For Women, Hemophilia Associate of New Jersey, Hunterdon Care Center, Hunterdon Humane Animal Shelter, Hunterdon Land Trust, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Somerset County, Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon & Warren, Jointure for Community Adult Education, Inc, Learning Gate Child Care Center, MacAfee Road School, Mane Stream, Mane Stream, Manville Senior Center, Martin Luther King Youth Center, Middle Earth, Middle Earth 21st Century Community Learning Center, Milltown Elementary School, New Jersey Eastern Star Home, Inc., NORWESCAP Career & Life Transition Center for Women, Red Mill Museum, Resource Center of Somerset County, Inc.,  Robert Morris School, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Rock Brook School, RVCC Academic Support Center, RVCC Child Care Center, Safe in Hunterdon, Saint Peter's University Hospital, Sampson G. Smith School, Somerset Community Actions Program (SCAP), Red Mill Museum, Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, Spring Hills Somerset, The Agape House of North Jersey, Inc, Van Holten Elementary School, Weston Elementary School, YMCA of Somerset Valley – Hillsborough, and YMCA of Somerset Valley – Somerset.  
Diversity Grants:  Diversity grants were available for 2013-2014 year.  These grants were funded by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The awards for 2013-2014 were in two categories:   

 (1) Campus Climate – “Of Rice and Spice: The Asian American Experience” Gallery Exhibition and Panel Discussion Funded by the RVCC Foundation College Community Fund and the Office of Multicultural Affairs Grant. The exhibition “Of Rice and Spice, The Asian American Experience” took place from September 6, 2013 to October 4, 2013 in the RVCC Art Gallery. The show featured 82 photographs of New York based documentary photographer Corky Lee along with historical archival material from the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University. The exhibition was accompanied by a catalog, as well as a panel discussion with the artist and scholars. The exhibition was coordinated by Donna Stackhouse (Professor for Photography) and Vandana Nadkarni (Assistant Professor for Art History) of the Visual & Performing Arts Department. The exhibition was curated by Yoland Skeete, Director of Sumei Multidisciplinary Arts Center in Newark, NJ. The panel discussion included the photographer Corky Lee, Dr. Betty Lee Sung, a leading authority on Asian Americans and Chinese immigration, Dr. Barbara Seater, Associate Professor of Sociology at RVCC and Vandana Nadkarni, Assistant Professor of Art History at RVCC as moderator.
(2) Climate - Visualizing Civil Rights (exhibit and literary resources)  
The series was a joint collaboration with Multicultural Affairs, Evelyn Field Library, Humanities, Social Science and Education departments. The programs were presented during the academic year from September 2013 to April 2014. The goals of this project coincide with several of the strategic drivers in the college’s new Strategic Plan. The Visualizing Civil Rights series infused diversity into the curriculum and was used to initiate campus-wide discussions on equality and freedom thus enhancing student educational experiences. Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) was one of 473 institutions across the country awarded a set of four films chronicling the history of the civil rights movement and a small National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to enrich classroom learning; create and preserve knowledge; and bring ideas to life through museum exhibitions, and programs in libraries and other community places. The first part of the grant included the powerful documentaries—The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders and The Loving Story—highlight the 150-year effort to achieve equal rights for all. The films were part of Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle, an initiative of the NEH.  
The second part of the program activities involved the collaboration with faculty and external community scholars to serve as panelists and guest lecturers on various civil rights topics during the academic year.  These programs included:   

•      Trayvon Martin Panel 
•      Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States,1861-1865 with guest scholar Dr.James Oakes 
•      The Supreme Court & Reproductive Rights 

•      Baby Business: Choice, Autonomy and Feminism in Childbirth 
•      "On Being Colored - A Woman & a Poet When Harlem Was In Vogue” with guest scholar Dr. Cheryl Wall 
•      Civil Rights and the Supreme Court
Lastly the third program activities included three (3) exhibits in the Evelyn Field Library which were provided by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center March on Washington Exhibit, Celebrating the 50th Anniversary, “From Slavery to Freedom: The Journey to New York City” - Frederick Douglas Exhibit and "Emancipation and Its Legacies" Exhibit.  

(3) Outreach – CRECER Latino High School Student Conference Funded by the Office of Multicultural Affairs Grant, Student Government Association/Student Life, Foundation  and Admissions. The Orgullo Latino Club (OCL) which is a student association club sponsored this high school outreach program for the 17th year.  CRECER is the Spanish word for “To Grow” /Acronym: Caring, Reaching, Educating, Connecting, Enriching and Reaping. This year’s theme was “It’s Your Future…Step It Up!”  This student driven conference supports the College’s Strategic Plan which include providing excellent educational experiences to prepare students for advancement to college and career readiness. Latino students from Somerset and Hunterdon counties are exposed to college and career pathways. Raritan Latino Students share their college success stories to inspire high school students to achieve excellence.  


Sister to Sister and Brothers Helping Brothers:  Sister to Sister and Brothers Helping Brothers programs maintain a supportive environment for students and promotes academic achievement, greater engagement and personal well-being of students of color through a wide range of services. Throughout the year, the Dean of Multicultural Affairs and Academic Counselor, Jeff Warren worked with students to improve retention and graduation rates by assisting students during key transitional periods in their academic careers. Both Sister to Sister and Brothers Helping Brothers programs work collaboratively to address closing the achievement gap and increasing retention for students of color.


Sister to Sister         Brothers Helping Brothers   
 Thursday, October 2, 2014 1-2:20 pm
   Location: Paul Robeson Room Library
 Thursday, October 2, 2014 1-2:20 pm
   Location: Conference Center Room C
 Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:2:20 pm
   Location: Paul Robeson Room Library
 Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:2:20 pm
   Location: College Center Atrium
 Thursday, November 13, 2014 1-2:20 pm
   Location:  Paul Robeson Room Library
 Thursday, November 13, 2014 1-2:20 pm
   Location: Conference Center Room C


Study Group Selected as peer liaisons coordinate a weekly study group that in an academic classroom at RVCC.  Students were encouraged to bring a friend or meet new friends that had similar academic goals.  The study group was comprised of a diverse group of student learners.  Phi Theta Kappa students and Academic Tutors help students with assignments and study skills techniques.  Students who required additional tutoring were encouraged to meet during the week with tutors from Academic Support Services. Study group will meet on Sunday From 5-10pm at the West Building, Room 220 starts on September 9, 2014.  


MILE (Multicultural Initiative for Leadership & Excellence)  MILE is a leadership preparation and exploration program aimed at providing Raritan Valley Community College students with tools that are transferable to gain a paraprofessional position at a 4-year college as a Resident Advisor or Student Affairs Assistant. The MILE Passport offers selected student participants skills development activities needed to prepare them for employment opportunities as a College Resident Advisor and Student Affairs paraprofessional.  An informational workshop was held to identify potential students along with outreach with the Student Life Leadership participants. Student Applications are available in the fall and the program is offered during the Spring semester.  For more information, please contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs.   


Kente Ceremony RVCC has the proud distinction amongst community colleges to serve as a leader with the implementation of the Kente Ceremony which celebrates a rich cultural tradition of community.  Using the Kente cloth as a symbol to honor the graduates, this ceremony provided a special opportunity for all graduates to participate in a rich cultural program honoring family members and supporters who help them achieve success at RVCC. The celebration of college completion by members of under-represented groups is extremely important.  Each graduate received a Kente stole to wear during graduation. The Kente Ceremony is truly a program that celebrates RVCC’s dedication (“it takes a village”) to assist students in the completion of their associate degree.   

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