Center for Multicultural Initiatives welcomes new CORE Coordinator

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Photo courtesy of @ou_cmi on Instagram

Sarah Bodnar has joined the CMI staff as their newest CORE Coordinator.

Tori Coker, Content Editor

The Center for Multicultural Initiatives (CMI) is welcoming Oakland University alum Sarah Bodnar to their staff as the newest coordinator for their CORE (Collectively Oakland Retains Everyone) program.

Bodnar is a two-time OU alumna, having earned her undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing before graduating with a master’s in Communication last year. Having always harbored an appreciation for reading and writing, Bodnar trusted her gut and pursued the subjects she was most passionate about throughout her studies — a strategy she now encourages fellow Grizzlies to follow.

“School is a lot of work and a lot of time, so you have to have drive and motivation to get up and go to class, engage in conversations and care about your education,” Bodnar said. “[…] Your degree does not make your career — you can get a degree in anything and go do anything you want, you just have to be able to tell a story about yourself. Going to school is really building that story, so I’d say go to school for what you’re interested in and make connections with people in fields that you’re interested in.”

For Bodnar, this interest has always been grounded in helping others. Her latest appointment with the CMI is hardly her first brush with the organization — midway through her undergraduate studies, a friend’s involvement exposed her to all the center has to offer students, and she quickly sought further involvement as an Ambassador for the CORE program.

“I knew as soon as I started getting involved that I wanted to work in the office,” Bodnar said. “I wanted to be a part of that so I could do that for other students, so I could be a positive change on campus and create that sense of community that I really appreciated and valued having.”

CORE is an integral program for the center, aimed at easing the transition into college for freshman students from underrepresented communities. The program puts students in touch with meaningful advising and resources they can refer to for any number of needs, from financial aid to academics to making on-campus connections.

For Bodnar, the program represents exactly the type of support system she feels makes college such a promising opportunity for young people of all backgrounds.

“As someone who came from a low-class background and [is] a first-generation college student, college for me was really exciting because it’s almost an equalizer,” Bodnar said. “Everyone at the university level is working toward goals, is trying to be a better version of themselves, is learning and growing and making mistakes and trying new things, and that energy that happens at the university really drew me to [on-campus involvement.]”

CORE Ambassadors provide peer mentorship to incoming freshmen, an opportunity that allowed Bodnar to satisfy her hunger to provide the same guidance she’d benefitted so much from through the CMI. This appreciation for mentoring would eventually lead her to a role within the First Year Advising Center (FYAC) throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, and finally to her position as the CMI’s newest CORE Coordinator.

“To pass [advice] onto someone but to also just be someone they can talk to, someone that’s listening to them, that cares about them as a person – not just a student – was really important to me,” Bodnar said.

Bodnar’s coordinator role will see her continuing to contribute to student success in the CORE program from a heightened point of involvement. From the organization’s trademark Bridge Week coming up in July to the return of beloved in-person activities such as men’s and women’s camping retreats for the first time since COVID-19 this fall, she has high aspirations for the academic year ahead and encourages interested students to get in on the fun.

“This year, our office is really looking to get [back] to creating that sense of community on campus again, coming together again, and so we’re going to kick it off at the start of the year,” Bodnar said. For more information on the CORE program and all things CMI, head to www.oakland.edu/cmi/