Students of Color Symposium declares “The Time is Now”

Students of Color Symposium, was held on Feb. 18, 2024. Photo credit: Multicultural Student Affairs

Complimentary breakfast, impactful words of advice from multigenerational leaders and various ways to connect with UM organizations have been hallmarks that the Students of Color Symposium offers each year.

Having celebrated its seventh annual symposium this past weekend, the SOCS is becoming an unforgettable aspect of University life that ‘Canes are cherishing for good.

The UM Office of Multicultural Student Affairs hosts the symposium every year during February in hopes of further developing the many ongoing diversity initiatives on UM’s campus.

The symposium continues to be one of MSA’s traditional opportunities for all students of color to network and listen to key advice from speakers who have walked their same paths both professionally and personally.

This year’s theme is “The TIME is Now: Advocacy in Today’s Time.”

Inspired by Time Magazine’s annual lists of influential moments and people, as well as the upcoming election year, the theme outlines the symposium’s goal to bring attention to the importance of voting and the development of personal identities.

“I think the theme is very creative and innovative, which is a great combination to get students interested and involved with the symposium,” said Tryston Smiley, a first-year nursing student.

To tie in with the theme of “The TIME is Now,” the symposium hosted Xiye Bastida, a Woman of Impact ambassador and climate change activist, as the keynote speaker. Bastida discussed the importance of preserving and caring about the drastic climate changes in our world, especially in a city such as Miami, as well as the power of youth when getting involved in advocacy to reduce the threat of these issues.

The symposium emphasized the importance of interaction between diverse students and created an environment where they could meet and learn more about each other.

“I enjoyed the positive and interactive environment during the symposium, meeting new people and hearing about their perspectives. I truly value the importance of interaction and loved how SOCS made this possible through a great organized event,” said Jaziel Cortez, a freshman studying international relations and public policy with a minor in computer science.

On the day of the symposium, students started to mingle and kick-start their morning during a light breakfast, followed by open remarks from the president of student affairs and the MSA office.

The opening remarks were followed by an interactive breakout session where the UM’s chapter of Get Out the Vote presented tips for voting and filling out a ballot appropriately. The second breakout session was centered around the importance of being creative in advocacy, showing students the ways that various art forms can utilize creativity in a way to spark change within their communities and during their time at UM.

After the empowering words from Xiye concluded, students were sent to the Social Change Resource Expo, where they were allowed to connect and contact multicultural and leadership organizations on UM’s campus and in the Miami-Dade community.

“The 2024 SOCS was eye-opening,” junior sports administration and political science student and SOCS speaker, Emoni Davis, said. “Multiple issues in multiple areas need to be addressed, and there’s no time better to cater to them because time is now.”

Visit the MSA website and follow their Instagram account @um-msa for more details on future events and updates happening on campus.