The Center of Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement is a department that provides programs and services at the University of Mississippi to prepare students for a multicultural society. Shawnboda Mead is the inaugural director, and has had the autonomy to shape the mission, programing, and services of the center.
The center is taking a delegation to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. from Thursday, April 13 to Saturday, April 15.
This trip was inspired by previous cross cultural trips and the involvement of Mississippi in African American history, from the death of Emmett Till to James Meredith.
According to Assistant Director Alexandria White, “The people’s journey from Africa to America is everyone’s journey, and the state of Mississippi, as well as the University of Mississippi, is interconnected with in the journey.”
The hardest part was choosing the scholars who would attend. Those selected would only have had to pay $100 dollars, and that would cover flights, hotels, museum tickets, and one meal.
During the application process, students were asked to explain how the trip would benefit them in the future. The 85 applicants gave many different answers, and students had many different outlooks about the trip. In the end, only 25 student leaders were selected to attend the delegation.
Charia Wilbourn said going on the trip is beneficial. “It will teach me about my ancestors, and I will have the chance to receive an overall great experience while getting to know more about my people,” she said.
There was so much time and effort given by staff to make this trip successful, and it was hard to collect 30 tickets for students and staff to attend the museum.
Many different UM departments chose to sponsor the trip. Now, students want to give back to the community. They will be doing video projects and keeping Snapchat updated with a personal Snapchat filter because they feel it’s important to bring the UM community along with them on their museum journey.
There will be more trips in the future, and White said it’s important for incoming students to know UM is proactive in providing opportunities for cross cultural engagement.