Multicultural Student Center launches ‘Pathways’ leadership series

Monthly series will feature multicultural student leaders on Grounds promoting cultural representation

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The Multicultural Student Center began its “Pathways” series Wednesday afternoon, inviting Alex Cintron, a fourth-year College student and Student Council President, to speak on his journey with representation. 

Geremia Di Maro | Cavalier Daily

The Multicultural Student Center began its “Pathways” series Wednesday afternoon, inviting Alex Cintron, a fourth-year College student and Student Council President, to speak on his journey with representation. 

This monthly series — which invites multicultural student leaders to speak to the MSC body and the University — was started by Assistant Director in LGBTQ Student Services Scott Rheinheimer and second-year College student Chun Lu. 

Lu, a leadership development intern for the MSC, said he hopes the series can emphasize the representation of multicultural student leaders on Grounds.

“My idea of the Pathways multicultural leadership series is to try to bring voice from multicultural student leaders on Grounds to share their viewpoints on what they think about the university with other students,” Lu said. 

As the first speaker of Pathways, Cintron talked about his tough transition to the University his first year, and the resources that allowed him to present Latinx issues to Student Council that helped him find his purpose over time. Cintron — the first Latinx Student Council president in recorded history — is also a facilitator for the Latinx Leadership Institute. 

Cintron said many obstacles come with being the first of any group, especially when people differ in social backgrounds — an issue he dealt with initially when joining the Student Council.

“There’s a lot that goes into being the first of an ethnic background in an institutional organization like Student Council at a predominately-white institution like U.Va.,” Cintron said during the talk. “Looking at the leadership of Student Council at the time, I didn’t see people who looked different or who looked like me.”

The event took place in the Multicultural Student Center, where Lu and Rheinheimer plan to hold the future events. Abdullah Maqbool, a second-year College student and attendee of the event, said he really appreciated the casual setting and that he was able to relate to Cintron.

“I think it was very moving that he was here talking to just students — I looked around and noticed there was no faculty member ,so that was really cool,” Maqbool said. “It was in a casual setting where everyone was comfortable, and I think that makes a huge difference.” 

Toward the end of the conversation, Cintron encouraged the group to find an issue on Grounds to advocate for — and said that even if it can’t be fully solved, it’s worthwhile to try.

“I would ask all of you to think to yourself what is the biggest issue at U.Va. that you can solve during your time here, for me it was the Latinx leadership program,” Cintron said. “You’ll become a better person because you’ve tried to make this place a better place for the next person after you. That has been a guiding principle for me.”

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