Programs & Services

Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) offers Northwestern students an array of core programs and services to help meet their needs and interests as well as contribute to their intellectual, cultural, social, and professional development. Our services include: advising, advocacy, academic services, programming, community building, outreach, collaboration and leadership training.


EJ w Students

MSA encourages students to use our directors as a resource as they navigate college life. Through individual appointments, our staff offers advising to students on issues ranging from personal growth, cultural development, leadership, and academics.

  • Student Group Advising and Funding: Our directors also advise scores of student organizations, assisting with programming needs and leadership skills. With more than 60 student organizations as MSA-affiliates, student group advising is central to our operations. Each director advises the student organizations of their constituency, while acting as liaison with the University on all legal affairs including (but not limited to) budget allotments, contracts for speakers, event planning, and alumni relations. MSA also offers grant opportunities for student groups as well as individual students.
  • Student Leaders Roundtable: Each quarter, our directors assemble the leaders of their community’s student groups and tackle an organizational issue pertaining to their constituency. Working in a collaborative space, leaders are able to obtain valuable information while receiving the support they need (from the director and each other) to efficiently lead their organizations. Past roundtable topics have included fundraising, identity, community building, and alumni relations.

Learning Programs

The major aspects of MSA Learning Programs are the Tutoring Program and information sessions.

  • Tutoring Program: MSA hosts a Tutoring Program that focuses primarily on Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Statistics, Calculus, and Economics.
  • Information Sessions: These sessions present information and opportunities provided by a variety of campus departments such as the Office of Fellowships, Study Abroad Office, and Chicago Field Studies.
  • Tips in Thirty (TNT): TNT is a 30-minute student skills workshop—a new way to develop your student group’s programming potential, capacity for growth, and development of skills pertinent to career planning, academics and leadership. Students can add this program to general or executive board meetings. An MSA staff member will work with a student group to generate an effective and useful 30-minute program to bolster skills in the following areas: programming, networking and management of one’s NU network, student group management, engaging sensational conversations, cultural connections, and student group academic enrichment. Visit the MSA Learning Programs page for more details.

Cultural Programming and Heritage Month Celebrations

Festival LatiNU

In addition to on-going cultural programs, MSA offers programming for a nationally recognized heritage month during each quarter of the academic year. In conjunction with its three departments, MSA coordinates a calendar of events and sponsors a keynote speaker for:

  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Fall Quarter)
  • Black History Month (Winter Quarter)
  • Asian American Heritage Month (Spring Quarter)

Community Building

MSA offers social events for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and parents to network and build community.

Student Leader Roundtable
  • Annual Homecoming Reception: African American Student Affairs hosts a welcome home reception for alumni and parade-watching party for students during the Friday of Homecoming Weekend.
  • Student Leader Roundtables: Each quarter, MSA hosts a gathering of representatives from each of the student groups we advise. At this meeting, student leaders and staff can share information, give feedback, and build community between groups. 
  • MSA and the individual departments offer a variety of additional community building events and initiatives throughout the year that evolve to meet the needs and desires of the community.

New Student Programs

MSA coordinates programs for freshmen and transfer students.


  • Summer Academic Workshop (SAW): Prior to Wildcat Welcome (orientation week), MSA and the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education present a two-week program that provides new students with an opportunity to strengthen writing skills across the university curriculum and develop a supportive social network for the next four years. Since 1966, SAW has invited over 1,400 students to campus. For more information about SAW, click here.

Wildcat Welcome:

Asian/American Student Experience

During the first year:

  • African American Freshmen Activities Board: The African American Freshmen Activities Board (FAB) provides first-year students with a support network and opportunities for them to develop leadership skills and plan programs.
  • Asian/Asian American Mentoring Program: The purpose of the Mentoring Program is to facilitate the transition process to life at Northwestern for first-year students by matching them with mentors (upperclassmen) who help with navigating the campus and developing a sense of belonging.
  • Hispanic/Latino Freshmen Activities Board: The Hispanic/Latino Freshmen Activities Board gives first-year students an active role in organizing educational, social, and service-oriented programs.

Senior Celebration

MSA Senior Celebration 2011 -39

Specifically for graduating seniors, MSA hosts an end-year celebration and presents several awards to honor students for academic achievement, leadership and community contributions.

  • Heritage Awards: Three Heritage Awards are given to seniors who have consistently contributed to the African American, Asian/Asian American, and Hispanic/Latino communities over the course of their undergraduate careers at Northwestern. 
  • Visionary Award: The Visionary Award is given to a senior who effectively participates in a variety of campus communities and builds connections amongst them.

List of Past Senior Award Recipients

    • Wildcat Days: During spring quarter, the Admissions Office presents a series of programs called Wildcat Days for prospective students and their parents. MSA hosts open houses at the Black House and Multicultural Center. In addition, MSA staff and many of our student groups participate in other activities such as panel discussions, activity fairs, and performances. 
  • Outreach

    Outreach programs focus on raising prospective students’ awareness of MSA and the services we offer.

    Office Hours w/ Campus Resources

    Each quarter, MSA encourages various offices and professors to hold office hours at our facilities. Visit the Multicultural Center (MCC) or African American Student Affairs (the Black House) to take advantage of resources and advising offered by University Career Services, Study Abroad, The Department of African American Studies and ethnic studies departments.


    2011 Latina/o Networking Gala

    MSA has relationships within a network of professionals and organizations that offer support and opportunities for our students. These networks include contacts with alumni, regional and national community-based organizations, and colleagues at other colleges and universities.

    Room Reservations and Facility Use

    Individual students and student groups are welcomed to use the Black House and MCC for studying, meeting space and for small programs. We also provide computer labs and tv lounges. Our facilities are open during regular business hours from 8:30 – 5:00 pm and after-hours until midnight. For security purposes the doors are locked at 5:00 pm, however students may gain access to the buildings during after-hours by ringing the doorbell and a staff member will open the door for you.

    Computer Labs

    PaperBoth the Black House and MCC have computer labs, a copy machine, and fax machine for student use. Our facilities are also wireless. Please note that MSA does not provide paper! Students must bring their own paper for printing and copying.