Over the past several years, Northwest Iowa Community College has seen a significant increase in the number of ethnically and culturally diverse students enrolled, and college staff are constantly looking for ways to make these students feel welcome and at home on campus and within the community. The Multicultural Club was officially established in June of 2020 with a purpose to connect students, staff and community members in finding common ground and educating one another on various cultures. NCC Alumnus, Samson Nyambati, came up with the idea for this student organization during his time as a student at NCC. Through NCC’s TRIO program, this idea came to life.
Samson and his family moved to Northwest Iowa from Minnesota in 2018 when he was accepted into NCC’s Licensed Practical Nursing program. During his time as a student, Samson recognized that there were not a lot of opportunities for students from different cultures to connect with one another. Samson was a member of NCC’s TRIO Program, which is a federally funded program designed to help low-income Americans attend college, graduate and participate fully in America’s economic and social life. TRIO’s services include academic advising, career planning, personal counseling, financial aid advising, tutoring, transfer assistance, lunch & learn workshops and cultural activities. At the time, the cultural activities offered through TRIO consisted of off campus activities including plays, operas, museum tours and symphonies, and were dependent upon student requests. Samson enjoyed participating in these offerings, but desired more cultural awareness and activities that could take place right on campus. He saw so many students that would attend class, visit TRIO to study for a few hours and then head to work or home. He desired to create more options for these students to make meaningful connections outside of homework and study groups.
At the time of Samson’s graduation from the Associate Degree Nursing program in 2020, NCC was looking for a Multicultural Academic Coordinator to work in the TRIO Department. This individual would be mainly responsible for coordinating and recruiting for the Multicultural Club on campus and assisting diverse students with the challenges they face throughout college. Although his goal had always been to become a nurse, he felt this position was calling to him and decided to apply. Samson loved NCC as a student, and he received a lot of support that was instrumental in his success. He wanted to assist students and provide the same support that was provided to him. Samson was hired as NCC’s part-time Multicultural Academic Coordinator in June of 2020. He could finally bring his vision of a multicultural organization to life, while also working part-time as a Registered Nurse.
Since its official inception in the summer of 2020, the Multicultural Club has had active participation from students, employees and community members. Each month the committee hosts activities that highlight the different cultures of current NCC students. Students from various countries will teach others about food, dress, political norms, landmarks, historical people, popular music and other notable qualities about their home country. A big highlight of these monthly activities is the food that students bring to share with attendees. The club also hosts a variety of other activities throughout the year. One example is the annual Taste of the World event that takes place in the spring semester. All students that participate in the Multicultural Club wear attire and bring dishes native to their home country and share them with the entire campus and community.
Another opportunity for Multicultural Club members is the option to sign up for a host family. A number of students do not have family in the Northwest Iowa area or even in the United States. These students have the option to sign up for a host family who will provide them support during their time as a student at NCC. Host families provide gifts, food, gas or grocery gift certificates and a place to stay during holiday breaks. They also serve as a support system for the student during their time at NCC.
Offerings and activities for multicultural students have come a long way over the past couple of years. In December of 2021, Samson went on a mission trip to his home country of Kenya, Africa. This trip was originally designed for students to get involved, but COVID-19 made this impossible. The main mission on this trip was treating homes and individuals for chiggers. The local government in Kenya helped to supply nursing personnel, vehicles and medications to assist with the treatment of individuals and homes. Samson and his team were able to treat around 30 families altogether. Other projects they completed were building a home for a needy family and assisting with Vacation Bible School for nearly 600 children. Samson was extremely grateful to receive support from the First Reformed Church in Sheldon, Iowa. Through this support, Samson and his team were able to supply some families with mattresses, food, shoes and clothing items. They were also able to teach children important hygiene skills that will assist them throughout their lives.
Samson’s NCC journey began with a goal to make a difference in people’s lives through Nursing. Now he can say he does just that, but he has also been instrumental in the success of NCC’s Multicultural Club where he makes a difference in the lives of numerous students and future nurses. Many of these students will be inspired to provide support to future students, just as Samson was. Like a pebble dropped in a pond, this ripple effect will leave a lasting impact.
If you have an interest in participating in or supporting upcoming NCC mission trips or Multicultural Club events, please contact Karrine O’Ram at email@example.com or
(800) 352-4907 ext. 324.