Magazine creates safe space for cultural “in-betweeners” on Campus

Pictured is The Chapel of Immaculate Conception. Photo courtesy of the University of Dayton website.

Samantha Neveril and Sara MacDonald | Contributing Writers

When students at the University of Dayton are asked to describe UD in one word, many of them choose words such as “home,” “welcoming” or “family.” UD is known among many students for their ability to build a special community unlike any other campus. 

According to the university’s website, “The University of Dayton campus community is more than just a place to live. It is a welcoming, close-knit environment where we learn, serve, pray and play together.” UD strives to uphold this sense of community and feeling of belonging for all. 

Although UD prides itself on its community, some members feel a disconnect from their peers. 

When looking at the racial demographics of the student population, including both undergraduate and graduate students, it is easy to tell that the university’s student body is made up of primarily white students. 

Of the 11,378 students who were enrolled in the university for the past fall semester, 69% of the students were white. The other 31% of the students fall into different minority groups or are international students.

Students who are members of the minority groups on campus might not have the same “UD experience” that their fellow peers feel so strongly about. Some might feel more on the outside than others due to their backgrounds.

Anna Kopsick, a member of the Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, has spent a decent amount of her time at UD trying to find spaces where she can achieve that sense of belonging.

Kopsick is half-white and half-Puerto Rican, so she has had to find a balance between her cultural identities.

“At UD, there’s a really really strong Puerto Rican presence of people who come here from Puerto Rico, and I always kind of wanted to be part of the group. But I wasn’t, because I’m not really fluent in Spanish, and I’m also not literally from Puerto Rico, I’m from Florida.”

Kopsick is just one of many people around the world, and on UD’s campus, who is a cultural “in-betweener,” or someone who straddles culture, race, ethnicity, nation and or location. 

Some students on UD’s campus believe the university lacks adequate resources to accommodate the students who fall into these categories.

Sama Ahmed, a graduate student who works as the graduate assistant for the Multi-Ethnic Education & Engagement Center, believes some of the students at UD are not competent communicators when it comes to engaging with diverse groups.

“It’s due to the fact that the multi-cultural competency isn’t really introduced to them [by UD]. It’s not something that’s like a skill that’s being continuously sharpened… I feel like there needs to be some sort of class or something at this point, because the amount of microaggressions that people continue to experience to this day is actually wild,” Ahmed said.

Although some feel that UD tends to lack adequate resources for these groups, there are other, off-campus resources that work to validate the feelings and cultural identities of diverse groups.

Culturs magazine was founded in 2014 by Doni Aldine, and since then it has been determined to address the cultural imbalances seen in communities by sharing stories and experiences of culturally-fluid individuals. 

According to its website, Culturs’ mission is to “enhance community and foster human connection for our cross-cultural, intersectional population (the in-betweeners).” 

UD works hard to bring this same level of cultural awareness and belonging to its campus. 

As mentioned before, community is one of the main characteristics that makes UD the special place it is, and by incorporating Culturs’ messages on campus, they can bring more comfort to members of the UD community who feel on the outside due to their cultural background. 

In the end, whether it is with their friends, clubs or other extracurriculars, there are definitely spaces where the multicultural students on UD’s campus feel welcome.

“Today, my college experience has been one of a lot of trying to find spaces for myself and find spaces that recognize my dual cultural identity, like my sorority, like my friends, all that fun stuff,” Kopsick said.

Kopsick is one of many at UD, and worldwide, looking for more cultural awareness and belonging in her community, which is what Culturs plans to do one community at a time. 

Overall, it is important for UD to do better when it comes to accepting the messages Culturs works so hard to cultivate in order to become a more inclusive community for all. 

To learn more about or become involved with Culturs, please contact or visit the Culturs website at

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