Housed in the University Center, the Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness and Community (MOSAIC) is in the final stages of its expansion and is slated for completion during the first week of March.
Anthony Cordova is director of both the MOSAIC and the Gateway Program. Known by many of his students as “Mr. C,” Cordova is frequently seen as a friendly face in the hallways, always in search of students to assist.
Below is a Q&A interview with Cordova, spotlighting the MOSAIC’s expansion and the importance of the program.
What is MOSAIC?
MOSAIC stands for Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness and Community. We assist first generation students, diverse students and students in need to help them successfully graduate and feel good about their college experience. Up until September, it was a two person office, but we are currently hiring new staff which will lead to three people in the office after COVID restrictions let up. We have an LGBTQIA+ coordinator coming and we are still in search of another.
Why is MOSAIC important and how did it start?
Well, wandering around after [freshman] orientation with information in your head doesn’t mean you know how or can apply it. We aim for more personal assistance because these students think they are on their own but they really aren’t. They can be successful and graduate but we have to talk to them.
When I first came to college as a first generation 40-year-old student I thought I had no one to ask for help. What I realized, through the Writing Center, is that everyone wants to help you succeed. You have to tell them you need help first, as a mentor once said to me, “you can only fail if you fail to ask for help.” After realizing this, I completed my undergrad in three years and in 2003, the Student Multicultural Affairs program, with little funds, moved into the Community Center, where the Copy Center used to be.
In addition, I am a firm believer that having a community that you’re involved in and where you trust other people will bring success. We are here to listen and help in any way we can. Our door is open and you can stop in. Seldom do we close the door unless it’s for confidentiality reasons.
What has changed since the MOSAIC began expansion last semester?
The students worked with architects for this expansion and it was truly something they asked for. It’s going to be a bigger community space and multifunctional. We took the Copy Center to the bookstore where it is now going to be more convenient for student access and utilization while we also gain more space for the MOSAIC office.
This space is also used for club events so the larger the room, the more people will be able to come and be a part of that. We have reservation slots on the wall, a study area that people frequent, a projector, big screen TV, comfortable furniture, a fridge and a microwave.
How has COVID-19 affected the MOSAIC Office?
COVID restrictions made it challenging because they only allowed one staff member or one student at a time in the office. With this expansion, we want to be cautious on opening as we are not certain of what will change, or won’t change, by that time. However, if anyone wants to meet with me I have had meetings over Microsoft Teams, though I am much more of an in-person type.