About 400 incoming University of Minnesota first-year students of color experienced an orientation with ethnic touches when they attended Multicultural Kickoff Days Aug. 26 and 27.

In addition to the usual orientation programs such as tours and presentations about U of M programs, the students were welcomed by a hip-hop step show, Aztec dancers and a Chinese lion dance.

The annual event was organized by the university’s Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE) to welcome the new students and to celebrate the diversity of the university. Various sessions gave students the inside scoop on scholarships, financial aid, work study, research and volunteer programs.

The students were also introduced to the various ethnic units on campus, such as the student cultural centers and the academic support services offered through the Office of Equity and Diversity. Representatives from the university’s financial aid office and study abroad programs will make presentations.

“Multicultural Kickoff Days provide our new students an opportunity to meet other students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds,” said Jillian Rowan of MCAE. “It will also allow them more detailed information, experience and connections to the multicultural services and offices at the U. It will help first-year students make a successful transition to college by building community and identifying academic and cultural support on campus.”

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