The Third World Organization was instituted in 1969. Professor Robert T. Brown was the first advisor for the group. This group was made up of elected students and sent representatives to the Student Government Association meetings.
The Third World Organization was created to provide the college community with opportunities to learn about and appreciate Third World Cultures and issues. The organization allows students to make world issues visible on a campus level, and the faculty still supports students with this goal.
The Third World Room was constructed in 1974 as a place for group members to get together and host events. The room featured a wall of murals. When the Ely building was renovated in 2012 the Third World room was renovated along with the rest of Ely Hall. The murals were photographed and taken down.
The Third World Organization's newsletter, Prisim, was founded in 1981 by Westfield State College special services student, Jeffrey White, Class of 1983. Prisim was a monthly newsletter to express ideas and opinions of Third World students and faculty, and featured poetry of members. It was a voluntary effort by members of the organization and the Urban Education Department.
The Third World Organization addressed worldwide political issues. In 1989 activist Arthur Serota spoke to Third World Organization students about anti-apartheid activities. Third World Organization members aimed to boycott Coca Cola on campus, as 40 percent of the company's profits went to the apartheid government in South Africa through taxes. A petition was started, and after 200 signature, acting college President Randolph Bromery approved the boycott.
The organization has hosted a variety of fashion shows and dinners in order to raise money for a variety of charities and efforts, such as the Keep a Child Alive Foundation and shelters in other countries. The organization was also involved in Westfield State's Celebrate Unity event, a community picnic that began in 1993, which aims to bring college community members of various cultural, racial and religious backgrounds together.
The Third World Organization participated in Westfield State's Diversity 101 Forum, an event in which the different organizations in the school get together to talk about diversity issues on campus and discuss solutions. The Diversity 101 Forum was started in 2001 by the Gay-Straight Alliance leaders and Class of 2001 students Mary Bazemore, Lisa Edward, and Matthew Warner.
On February 28, 2012, the Third World Organization changed their name to the Multicultural Student Association in a ceremony that was held on that day. Chaitali Brahmbhatt was the first advisor for the group after the name change had taken place.
Thank you to Timothy J. Schreiner for the research for this guide.
Karen H. Canary
June 20, 2018