Joya Breems—Staff Writer
“If your parents are divorced or separated, stand up and high-five another member,” Carter King said at the first Mosaic Club meeting. He read from a sheet of ice breaker prompts. At his word, around half a dozen people stood up and made their way to the middle of the Eckhart Lounge, high-fiving each other.
“I already know most of you!” said one girl.
“My goal for this one is for all of you to be standing,” King said, “If you are the oldest child, kneel on the floor.”
A third of the attendees knelt.
“Middle children, I want you to squat.” King said.
Another third of the group joined the oldest children on the floor.
“Youngest children, stand up and wave your hand—we know you’re the forgotten ones,” King said.
The theme for the first Mosaic Club meeting, held on Tuesday, Feb. 15, was identity. Participants were guided through three, identity-focused workshops. They shared pizza and fellowship, too. Mosaic is an acronym standing for Multicultural Opportunities for Students Actively Involved in Community.
Alex Vasquez, student success coach, started the club in partnership with the Multicultural Leadership Program (MLP). He wants to share with the student body what the MLP students are learning in class. Susan Wang, one of Vasquez’s MLP students, helped plan the first meeting.
Vasquez started the club to fill a gap he felt was missing in his college experience: “I didn’t have a space, a place where I could meet other people and figure out what makes them unique,” Vasquez said. “Everyone is doing the same thing. We’re all just trying to figure it out.”
Vasquez can pinpoint times in his own life where his sense of identity was weak. He wants to help other students who might be feeling the same way.
When Vasquez attended Dordt, he wore his grandpa’s Columbian sombrero to the campus-wide fiesta: “I never wore it, but I brought it to college and stored it in my closet,” Vasquez said, “[But for the Fiesta], I went to my closet, put on my sombrero, and I was super happy.”
At the party, one of his friends commented, “What are you wearing? That’s not you.” At that moment, Vasquez realized: “I don’t even know who I am.”
Vasquez started the Mosaic Club for people like him who were lost in college. In his experience with YoungLife, he attended a Mosaic-inspired event.
“For the first time in my life, I was in a room with people that I felt like I didn’t have to explain myself to. I saw people all different colors, shapes, and upbringings and we were all together” Vasquez said. “I want to make a mission to bring that environment to Dordt.”
Another goal of the Mosaic Club is to tackle difficult issues, like racial reconciliation. Vasquez recognizes these topics may be difficult.
“In a time where a lot of things are politicized, it’s hard to even hear the word diversity. People get uneasy when they hear that.” Vasquez thinks the reformed tradition speaks to the topic. “Part of being reformed is renewing all aspects of life. It’s understanding the things that God meant for good that we take for granted.”
He hopes the club will help Dordt students “learn to appreciate one another while still not agreeing.”
In the future, Vasquez hopes that ideas from the Mosaic Club can be integrated into the CORE program. Mosaic helps Dordt students “understand who they are and how their story fits within God’s story,” a key theme of CORE- 100. Vasquez wonders how Dordt graduates would reflect on the following questions: “Did I just get a degree? Did I make meaningful relationships? Did I grow as a person overall?” Mosaic, Vasquez says, can help.
For Wang, the first meeting was successful. In her first semester of the MLP, Wang read the book Emotionally Healthy Leaders.
“Once you have a healthy relationship with yourself you are able to reach out to others,” Wang said.