VOICES: representing the underrepresented

Introducing a new podcast from the Office of Multicultural Life

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The Office of Multicultural Life (OML) has been hosting a college-wide podcast called VOICES which has been gaining increased popularity, and has become a popular platform for people to share their stories. This podcast was started by Shobha Pai ‘24 and David Holman ‘22. 

Pai was originally hired only to do a marketing job at OML. One day, while talking to a then-staff member, Pai was told that there was an idea for a podcast called VOICES in the making. Pai was immediately intrigued and inquired more about it. She expressed her interest in making the podcast, and she and Holman began working on it together.

The initial ideology behind the podcast was to highlight marginalized communities and the voices of underrepresented communities on campus. Muhlenberg is a Predominantly White Institution (PWI), and students of culturally diverse backgrounds might not have the opportunity to share their experiences. Pai commented on this by expressing that, “I feel like there are many places here that have been made for only white communities, and there are less for people of color and those of first-generation communities. I just wanted a place where they can speak openly.”

Pai is a lover of podcasts herself saying, “I listen to a podcast every day.” She hopes that VOICES keeps continuing, even after she graduates. She thinks it is a great place for students’ voices to be highlighted and for those who aren’t comfortable speaking in front of a crowd to still have the opportunity and place to share their opinions and views. This is even a great opportunity for students who are interested in producing, as Pai mentioned how “The podcast is an excellent opportunity to provide passionate producers the opportunity to showcase their work in a non-professional setting, but in a professional manner.”

Pai also mentioned how the process of making a podcast is not that complicated. People might be thinking that there is this huge process of brainstorming, but anyone who wants to be part of it just needs to talk to Pai and tell her what they want to speak on. She said, “It’s not a big deal. We take two hours to shoot and then we edit it, it’s pretty simple.”

VOICES is producing a special podcast in conjunction with Comunidad Latinx, to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Daniela Martinez ‘23, president of Comunidad Latinx, decided to connect with VOICES to bring attention to the Latinx community on the campus and said, “I believe that our community is so unique and diverse and that oftentimes gets overlooked.” VOICES will also help in bringing attention to some of the issues the Latinx community faces in this day and age. This is an excellent way for Comunidad Latinx to speak their truth on a platform where people will actually listen to them. 

Martinez also said, “My expectations for the podcast are that it talks about issues the community faces and truly showcases how unique each culture is within the community. I hope that people can stop seeing Latinx people as a homogeneous group. There is so much to celebrate and learn from all the cultures that make up the Latinx community. I also hope that Latinx students feel like they have a safe space to go to.”

VOICES is not only two people’s efforts, but has the blood and sweat of many people. Pai said, “It’s not only me, I want to thank a lot of people without which VOICES would never have been able to become what it is today. Robin Riley-Casey, the director of multicultural life at Muhlenberg, the Office of Multicultural Life, [Holman], and so many more people have done a lot to make this work. It’s not solely my thing, I want it to carry on even after I’m gone, and for more people to join and participate in the podcast.”

“The podcast is an excellent opportunity to provide passionate producers the opportunity to showcase their work in a non-professional setting, but in a professional manner.”

-Shobha Pai ’24

Martinez, and many others in the past and the future, are grateful for this opportunity to express their views when they might not have been able to before. Martinez expressed her gratitude by saying, “Thank you so much for making a podcast on Comunidad. The current E-board is doing whatever we can to make sure we make everyone feel included and help people learn about the different cultures in our community.”

VOICES showcases that even though Muhlenberg is a PWI, there are still communities and artistic outlets for people of color, and that this is a place they can tap into and be welcomed in with open arms.

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