Spotlight: University Multicultural Association promotes diversity, attends cultural events

The UMA club recently gathered for a roller skating party. • UMA file photo

The Universal Multicultural Association (UMA) seeks to provide an environment where members can build friendships, share their perspectives and learn about different cultures in a friendly setting.

The club promotes diversity and encourages any to join. Vanessa Mendoza, president of the UMA, said the club name can often be misleading, for the club is open to anyone regardless of their cultural background.

“Do not let the name scare you off as everyone is welcomed to join even if you do not consider yourself as being of rich culture,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the goals of the organization involved friendship building through cultural experiences.

“[We would like to] maintain a space students would be able to speak about issues, enjoy other cultures, and view different perspectives. We also encourage building friendships,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza ran for club president because she wanted to make the UMA more of a student-run club.

“[A student-run club] encourages building friendships so sharing perspectives comes through naturally,” Mendoza said.

She also hopes the UMA will lead to students being more open about their thoughts and experiences with other students in the club and on campus.

“We would like to see more diversity as it is inspiring in classroom discussions,” Mendoza said.

She also mentioned that all cultures are welcome, local or not, and that friendships among students is one of the main goals of the club.

Teresa Gonya, professor of biological sciences at UW-Fox and adviser of the club, mentioned the club participates in several activities like ethnic dinners, dances, speakers, talent shows and community service.

“The club is largely welcomed at cultural events,” Gonya said.

The association plans to attend a fair this spring where students will be able to go and hear other students experiences with other cultures and learn about other cultures and ethnicity within the Fox Cities and the UW-Fox campus.

If any of this is of interest, join the UMA by going to a meeting on Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m. in room 1319, contacting Gonya by email at, by calling 920-832-2693 or by stopping in at her office room 1023.