April 13-15, 2018
Registration is closed!
Multi is hosting Compass: Navigating Multiness, an undergraduate three day conference, to bring together people both personally and academically interested in the Multi experience.
This conference is open to any student who has ever asked “am I authentic enough to claim this identity?” or has been asked “what are you / where are you really from?” We will explore the navigation of multiple identities, particularly those that are unaddressed or marginalized in mainstream society through panels, breakout sessions and shared stories. Though not everyone has a Multi experience, the Multi experience impacts us all. Our conference will focus on relationships, recognizing that living in-between affects how we interact, how we grow and how we establish our multiness in new and old communities.
Speakers from diverse disciplines will highlight current academic work to bring an intellectually engaging lineup. Through this conference, Multi hopes to transform the way that individuals understand their own mixedness, enrich our growing Multi community, and foster recognition of our increasingly multicultural world.
Workshops within Sessions run concurrently
** designates this event is open to the public and does not require registration
* designates this event is open to undergraduates regardless of conference registration
Check-In & Welcome
- Interracial Relationships**
- Laura Kina Artist Talk, Exhibit & Reception**
- Swarthmore Indigenous Student Association (SISA) Workshop**
SAO x Hapa Dinner
feat. Noel Quiñones
Check-In & Welcome
- Multiracial Microaggressions & Monoracism
- Visibility & the Multiracial Aesthetic**
- Authenticity, Code Switching & Being Enough
- Lion Movie Screening**
SQU x Colors Lunch
- Agency, Allyship & Advocacy**
- Outing, Otherness & Erasure
- Authenticity, Code Switching & Being Enough
- Get Out Movie Screening**
Keynote Speaker: A Conversation with Junot Díaz**
Open Space Synthesis
ENLACE x SOCA Dinner
Compass Conference Party*
Club Sustainability Workshop
Ice Cream Social
Invited Guests & Speakers
Author and Professor
Junot Díaz is a renowned author and 2012 MacArthur ‘Genius’ recipient, known for his two collections of short stories, This is How You Lose Her, and Drown. In 2008, Díaz received a Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Among his numerous other accolades the most recent include the the Hispanic Heritage Award in Literature and an honorary degree from Brown University. Currently, Junot holds a position as the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
It is an honor to have Junot Díaz as our keynote speaker given how his work has been heavily influenced by the exploration of his multicultural identity. His own experiences of being an immigrant, of being ‘othered’ in Cambridge and his relation to Dominican culture are all reflected in the characters that bring his three works to life. Despite his name recognition and popularity of his writing, many readers still do not know of the racial complexity written into his pieces reflecting his own New Jersey childhood. Compass is excited to welcome Junot to Swarthmore and have him share his stories with us as we work in this space to write our own.
Artist and Professor
Laura Kina is a Chicago based artist who explores the experience of Asian-Americans through paint and mixed media. Notable exhibits are Uchinanchu, Blue Hawaiʻi, and Hapa Soap Opera, that have been exhibited across the country. In addition to her pursuits as an artist, she also holds the position of Professor of Art, Media, & Design at DePaul University. Laura Kina is also the author of two books, War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art, co-authored with Wei Ming Dariotis and Queering Contemporary Asian American Art, co-authored with Jan Christian Bernabe. Compass is excited to present Kina because of her unwavering dedication to the exploration of Hapa identity and the Asian-American experience.
Noel Quiñones '15
Poet and Educator
Noel Quiñones is an AfroBoricua educator, writer, and performer born and raised in the Bronx. He has received fellowships from Poets House, CantoMundo, and the Watering Hole, and his work is forthcoming or published in the Latin American Review, LIT HUB, Pilgrimage Press & in the Best of Kweli Journal Anthology and ¡Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets, the first of its kind published by Arte Público Press. His performances have been showcased on Huffington Post, Vibe, Button Poetry, Latina Magazine, Medium & elsewhere. Noel is the founder of Project X, a Bronx based arts organization, and was most recently named one of New York State's 40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars.
Contact him @NQNino322 or his website below!
Meet the Organizers
The people who help make the magic happen
Casey Lu Simon-Plumb '18
Casey is a senior at Swarthmore from Western Mass. She became involved with the revival of Multi in 2015 after feeling that her Hungarian-Scottish-Jewish-Chinese adoptee experience didn’t fit conventionally in other monoracial groups on campus. Casey is so proud of the Multi community that has been built. She hopes to take what she has learned about race to more critically analyze healthcare and health disparities. Beyond navigating her own complicated identity and what family is to her, Casey spends her time dancing tango, reading books and playing board games. She is also a peanut butter connoisseur, scarf addict and superb stater of the obvious.
Christopher Malafronti '18
Chris is a senior at Swarthmore College. He helped to revive Multi in the spring of 2015 when he started to realize his own experience couldn’t be understood or validated in other monoracial affinity groups. It was then that the dream of creating a space for mixed folks took hold. Adopted from Guatemala, Chris hopes to shift the narrative of mixedness from a traditional understanding (parents of different races) to include other multi(racial) experience (being transracially adopted). When he isn’t in a meeting about Compass he can be found running, on the stage or listening to his extensive CD collection.
Clarissa Phillips '19
Clarissa, a rising junior at Swarthmore College, grew up in Watertown, MA. As a child of immigrant parents with drastically different cultural backgrounds, and thus lived experiences, she struggled to define her own identity. While she continues this journey, she finds solace in the Multi community, where she is able to talk about her mixed experience as someone who is biologically mono racial. Clarissa hopes to help expand the definition of Multi so that other people can experience the therapeutic power of embracing their mixed identity. If she’s not conference planning you’ll most likely find her meeting with WOCKA, WiCS or singing in Offbeat.
Dakota Gibbs '19
Dakota is a rising junior at Swarthmore college and will be Multi’s 2017-2018 President. Growing up in rapidly and racially changing environments, as well as being a first generation American, Dakota had to navigate his many facets of multiness. Being influences by "his" many cultures and the general lack of recognition of his multi identity. Dakota struggled with where he belonged. He finally found his home in Multi. Dakota hopes to bring the multi identity into the mainstream that focuses not only on working through one’s multiness but also celebrating it. When not in meetings or doing schoolwork, Dakota tends to spend time creating music with his band, Caboose, playing board games, dabbing, and making puns… but you’ll soon learn that.
Sydnie Schwarz '20
Sydnie is a Swarthmore sophomore from Raleigh, NC. She joined Multi, SAO and Hapa freshman year in an effort to continue finding affinity spaces that were so seldom before college. Although she is “half” Chinese she spent her middle school and early high school years living with only her younger brother, white father and stepmother and attending a private old-money PWI. Sydnie is particularly interested in identity conscious education models and intends to be a Sociology/ Anthropology major. She plays lacrosse, makes cool t-shirts and likes to paint people and letters.
Adero Kauffmann-Okoko '21
Adero is a rising freshman at Swarthmore from Pittsburgh, PA. Growing up in an Italian-Bulgarian-Kenyan household, she has been exposed to a multitude of cultures and languages, which has made it difficult for her to define her own identity. She is excited to explore her identity and learn more about what being Multi truly means in such an accepting community that celebrates diverse backgrounds. Outside of thinking about identity, she enjoys making (and eating) crêpes, watching comedies, and taking naps.
Lamia-Emilie Makkar '21
Lamia is a freshman at Swat who, as a fourth-culture French-Egyptian-American?-Emirati? kid, quickly found her spot in the Multi community. Having just moved to the United States, Lamia is particularly interested in understanding what it means to be multiracial in this context. Aside from perpetually contemplating the best way to answer the question "where are you from?", Lamia spends her time between planning conferences, running her nonprofit Haiti: Hands On (shameless plug), cooking up some felafel and eating lots of good ol' peanut butter.
Michael Gross '21
Michael is a freshman at Swarthmore College, who grew up in Nairobi and New York City. As a child of Ethiopian and Austrian parents, he joined Multi and the Compass Conference Team as a means of exploring different aspects of his identity in an environment that could relate to and understand his experiences. He hopes that this conference will allow others to do the same and looks forward to meeting you all!
Alyssa Ogle '21
Alyssa is a freshman at Swarthmore. With her Indian/Black/White racial makeup, she struggled to find individuals in her predominantly white environment that could relate to the identity confusion that can arise from being multi. However, Swarthmore has provided the perfect remedy for such a dilemma. By joining Swarthmore’s multi club, Alyssa has been able to connect with other multi individuals who share an understanding of her identity issues along with being able to expand her definition of what it means to be multi. She hopes that the conference will be able to provide you with the same transformative opportunity of learning and connection.
Multi, a club chartered through Swarthmore’s Student Government Organization (SGO) and a member of the Intercultural Center (IC), aims to create a space on Swarthmore’s campus for people who self identify with some multi heritage, including the multiracial, multiethnic and multicultural experiences.
As the inaugural conference hosted by Swarthmore College dedicated to the mixed race experience, Compass will be a testament to our continued commitment to diversity and inclusion. This conference hopes to deeply interrogate the complexities of diversity across the hierarchies of race, culture and academia. This is an unparalleled opportunity to affirm, express and celebrate the importance of the Multi experience. We strongly believe this project will solidify Multi’s place on campus for years to come and provide an important foundation for future conversations and collaboration.
Is this conference for me?
This conference is for undergraduate students immersed in the multiracial experience一 for anyone who finds themselves “switching” between parts of their identity, who feels that short answers cannot accurately portray their background/heritage and for those who haven’t felt at home in a monoracial identity. This conference seeks to explore and push the boundaries of multiraciality. In being broadly inclusive we hope to unite in our common experiences as Multi folks, rather than divide and fraction off by what we are not. We want to create a space for mixed folks to come together, embrace, and share the diversity and fullness of many identities which can be otherwise marginalized in a monoracial world. We hope this conference will be a place for the Multi community to grow as a whole.
If I don't identify as Multi can I still register?
We hope to cultivate an affinity space for people who do identify as Multi to celebrate and explore their multiness. Therefore if you do not identify as Multi, we ask that you do not register (we have a limited amount of spots available). That being said there will be plenty of events open to the public throughout the conference. You do not need to register for these workshops and events, and we would absolutely love to have a diversity of folks to learn, listen and think about Multiness in a broader Multi/non-Multi context.
What is/isn’t provided?
If you need housing accommodations we will be having Multi club members hosting other students. There are additional questions in the registration form pertaining to housing to help us match you as best we can with one of our students. In addition, there is the nearby Swarthmore Inn and other hotels in the area where rooms can be booked.
The scheduled meals will be provided for registrants as a part of the Compass Conference.
Transportation is up to the Conference attendees, but contact us if you would like to know about transportation options or have questions about getting here. If getting here is a barrier please be in touch, we do not want that to be the reason you cannot come!
Where can I park?
Parking is available to visitors in Ben West (bottom of campus), DuPont (top of campus) and Cunningham (by the train station) parking lots. We have parking permit signs for those driving, so please be in touch we can both get these to you and direct you to the appropriate parking lots.
Can I climb the trees?
Don’t climb the trees! Swarthmore's campus doubles as an arboretum, where trees and plants reign. Climbing trees can result in fines… or injury… or death!!!
What is the dress code?
Casual wear is fine for the conference during the day. If anything the Keynote address and dinner may be business-casual. There is also free time at night and a party, so if it behooves you bring going out clothes!
Should I bring money?
In terms of Compass, everything you need will be provided. If you wish to purchase food or anything else beyond what is provided you may want to bring extra cash. You know yourself best, so prepare as needed. There is a campus store by the Swarthmore Inn and some small shops in the Ville if you wish to purchase Swarthmore paraphernalia or forget to bring something, but the town of Swarthmore is not as bustling a college-town as many other areas.
What accomodations does Swarthmore have?
Swarthmore has accessible paths and all buildings are to ADA code. There are also gender neutral bathrooms in every building that Conference events will be happening at. If you need more assistance please contact us.
The Compass Conference wouldn’t be possible without the help of many people. First, thank you to The Cooper Series and its Grant Committee as well as the President’s Office through the Andrew W. Mellon Grant Foundation for providing crucial funding; Clarissa Phillips’ 19 for being an integral part of our early team and website development; Shayla Smith for help with workshop design, administrative outreach and much of the early planning stages; Dean Jason Rivera for all his oversight and support throughout the planning process, you will be missed!; Dean Shá Duncan-Smith for organization and wisdom; Andrew Barclay for communications; Susan Lewis for her early insights; Art History/Studio Art, Asian Studies, Educational Studies English, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, Linguistics, Psychology and Sociology/Anthropology departments for funding; and all of the other administrators who helped support us through this process. We are deeply indebted to the faculty, staff, friends and students who are volunteering their time and energy to develop and lead workshops, as well as facilities for accommodating our extensive use of space on campus. We would also like to send a special thank you to Lesia Liao '18 for her help constructing the site, Gursimran Pannu ‘20 for his beautiful poster designs, and James Howard '18 for creating our logos and outstanding program design.