About MESA

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The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) provides support and programming through celebrations, educational offerings, and building social capital through the lens of race and ethnicity.

Our mission

Using the lens of race and ethnicity, MESA engages the campus community and transforms the student experience to build inclusive spaces and equitable opportunities for all.

Our values

Our values manifest in our workplace environment, define how we interact with each other in our organization, and declare how we value students, colleagues, and community.

  • Collective Community: We build relationships with and beyond our circles so that we can work collaboratively to positively impact our environment, wherever that may be
  • Fun: We hope to weave celebration, laughter, and joy into our environment
  • Integrity: We will be honest, authentic and transparent; our decisions, actions and words will match what and who we say we are
  • Intersectionality: While race/ethnicity is our foundation, we recognize that identities coexist to create a multi-dimensional person
  • Transformation: We believe social change starts with the individual. We are committed to creating experiences and spaces that grow knowledge and take us to our learning edge
  • Trust: We trust individual and collective narratives and experiences. Some narratives sit in complement and other in contrast. Each engagement is an opportunity to extend and preserve trust by actively listening and demonstrating empathy and compassion


In 1970, a class boycott organized by the Black Action Movement (BAM), began a legacy of student activism at the University of Michigan. As a collective effort of several Black student organizations, the primary goal of BAM was to challenge the university’s lack of diversity and civil rights initiatives. The result of these efforts led the university to address many of the concerns around admissions, space, and support for Black students. Shortly after the Trotter House was created in 1971, the Office of Special Services & Programs began as a central area for communities of color at UM. This new unit had staff advocates that served a variety of ethnic constituencies. 

Protesters in 1970 marching across the University of Michigan Regents Plaza. (Photo courtesy of Jay Cassidy.)
Protesters in 1970 marching across the University of Michigan Regents Plaza. (Photo courtesy of Jay Cassidy.)

In 1977, the name changed to Minority Student Services to meet the needs of minority students and to promote the cultural diversity represented across the University. By 1995, the office changed its name to Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, and included the Trotter Multicultural Center. In 2014, MESA and Trotter became individual units working collaboratively to support students. 

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Hours of operation

9:00 a.m - 5:00 p.m.



Alumni Giving

MESA's engagement in communities, leadership development, and social justice education serve our unit’s vision where all members of our community are embraced, nurtured, and able to achieve their version of success.

Why give to MESA?

The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs is responsible for promoting student development and empowerment of the entire campus community around issues of diversity and social justice through the lens of race and ethnicity.

Your gift will help to enhance the success of students by building support communities through intellectual, social and cultural opportunities, promoting a healthy multicultural and respectful climate that allows for meaningful cross-cultural partnerships among student communities, and engaging students in efforts to further develop and deepens their intercultural skills and competencies.