The OMA: A place that feels like home


Courtesy of CWRU

The Office of Multicultural Affairs, located on the fourth floor of Sears, is a comforting place for CWRU students of all identities to celebrate their diversity and success.

Cameron Ward, Staff Writer

The Case Western Reserve University campus is home to a lot of special places and hidden gems, but one shines brighter than most—the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). Tucked away on the fourth floor of Sears Hall, this office may seem of minimal importance, but that perception is changed as soon as you walk through the door. On my first visit, a staff member noticed my new face and offered me a welcome tour, where I was informed about all that OMA strives to offer to CWRU’s student community. I have returned several times since, coming back to warm faces and a cozy atmosphere.

So, what exactly does the OMA offer the community? There is a surprising amount that the office is involved in, from collaborating on big events with other offices on campus, to advising the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC) and all their adjacent departments. 

On your welcome tour, you are told all the wonderful amenities that can be found on Sears’ fourth floor, including free coffee, friendly faces and the “comfiest couches that can be found on campus.” More importantly, though, OMA has many resources for students who need them, including a no-questions-asked food pantry, a resource library—full of books about culture, lived experiences in various communities, and post-grad academic resources— and a mini computer lab. The office also has two different conference spaces, which are available for reservation at no cost. Even with all of this on hand, the best part of the OMA is the people there. There are three full-time staff members and many student workers who are ready and willing to help you out. 

However, the OMA is more than just a room. Their blanket role in the university involves diversity education, mediation in ethnic and cultural conflicts and community outreach with local nonprofits and corporations. As stated before, they are also the advisor of UDC and all its underlying departments. Information about these organizations, their leaders and their events can be found posted around the office. Facilitating Diversity 360 in collaboration with the Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity is another role the office has on campus. They work on curriculum development and outreach to not just undergraduate and graduate students, but the surrounding community and potential partners as well. Aside from these roles, though, the office itself hosts a few major events to watch out for over the semester. 

One of these is the 33rd Annual Unity Banquet, which is happening in April. It is an event that celebrates undergraduate students, graduating seniors, community partners and staff for both their accomplishments and who they are as people. The office awards up to $10,000 in scholarships as well, which are not tuition- or GPA-based. It’s also just an opportunity for students to get dressed up, have good food and celebrate their accomplishments with other people. The OMA also hosts Black Graduation and Latinx Graduation, which happen during commencement week, and work to honor the accomplishments of graduating students across those communities. 

The office holds additional regular events, such as Wellness Wednesdays (in collaboration with University Health and Counseling Services) and postgraduate workshops. On the list of upcoming events is OMA’s Kickback, happening next Friday, Feb. 3 from 12:30-2 p.m. Kickbacks are beneficial because they are an opportunity for student outreach and are a platform to highlight a minority group. This event is also the OMA’s lead off to Black History Month, and will feature food from many minority-owned restaurants across the Cleveland area. If interested, make sure to register with CampusGroups, so a plate is saved for you. 

In writing this article, I spoke to Director Janée Kelly, who was more than happy to indulge all my questions and commentary about the space. When I asked what was the one thing students should know about the OMA, she stated that it is a place where students come to be seen on campus, so that when you leave CWRU, you are more whole than when you arrived. If there is one thing you take away from this article, let it be that alongside the people and the space, the OMA is a place to feel at home.

For more information about the OMA, what they do and who they are, check out their website at, or stop in and talk to one of the wonderful staff members, no appointment is needed.