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Intercultural Affairs

Engage. Exchange. Enlighten.

Intercultural Affairs (ICA) works with all members of the University to provide a campus environment where students from different backgrounds and culture groups feel appreciated, respected and valued. Through educational, social, and leadership programs, ICA promotes inclusive values of social justice and human dignity while preparing students to thrive in a diverse and interconnected world.

Our goal is to engage the WCU community, foster the exchange of ideas between students, faculty and staff, and enlighten our campus community.


The ICA Advisory Board is a standing committee composed of faculty, staff and graduate students. They meet several times during the academic year to provide guidance, support and feedback for ICA with the goal of enhancing the programs and services provided by Intercultural Affairs

ICA Council serves as the student lead branch of the department. The council hosts various events and programs throughout the academic year to foster diversity and inclusion within the student body. They also help plan many of the large-scale events that the department is responsible for. Learn more and meet the Council.



Student Organizations

Faculty & Staff




Students on a Project CARE bowling trip


We're here to support students like you during your time here at Western Carolina University.

Whether you're looking for a place to spend some down time between classes or a way to meet new friends, our events and programs throughout the year offer a variety of opportunities to enrich your college experience.

Explore all our programs below and we hope to see you on campus!

Cultural Immersion Excursion

Students in front of the capitol building, Washington DC, on the ICA cultural immersion excursion.


This annual experience is designed to expose students to persons or groups markedly different in culture (ethnicity, language, and socioeconomic status) from that of themselves and create awareness for the world around them.

Our Fall 2018 Excursion was: American Heritage Tour: The Counter-Narrative. 46 Students traveled to Virginia, Washington DC and New York City!

Photo of acrobat in Volta swinging from a lamp


Fall 2019 Trip - Dinner and a Show

On Saturday, October 12th, 2019 50 students traveled to Atlanta, GA to attend the Cirque du Soleil bigtop show - Volta! The bus stopped on the way down at the Mall of Georgia for lunch and a little shopping. After the show students enjoyed a little more shopping in Atlantic Station before dinner at The Pig and the Pearl.

Drag Show/wcu pride week

Picture of Ms Cracker with the text Drag Show with Ms Cracker

WCU Pride Week is a week long series of campus wide events, programs and workshops to bring awareness, education and support of our LGBTQ+ community,  culminating with a Drag Show on Friday night!

Fall 2019 Pride Week List of Events:

  • MONDAY 9/23 - PRIDE Health Fair, 12-2, UC Illusions
    LGBTQ+ Student Panel, 7-8:30, UC Grandroom
  • TUESDAY 9/24 - Comedian: Sampson McCormick, 8-9 p.m., UC Illusions 
  • WEDNESDAY 9/25 - S.E.X. in ICA, 7pm, ICA Lounge
  • THURSDAY 9/26 - Film: Moonlight (discussion following), 7-10 p.m., UC Theater
  • FRIDAY 9/27 - Drag Show Featuring Miz Cracker, 8-10 p.m., Ramsey Center

Hats off to Women

Women at a table during the Hats off to Women event


A biennial networking luncheon where young women can connect with experienced female leaders on campus and in the community to receive advice, words of wisdom and motivation to aid in their own academic and career journeys.

The March 24th, 2020 Hats Off to Women was postponed and will be rescheduled for the Spring 2021 semester.

ICA Graduation Celebration

Spring 2019 ICA Graduates


The Department of Intercultural Affairs developed this graduation celebration as a way to honor students from underrepresented populations and their contributions to the Western Carolina University community.

We wish to provide them with a tangible symbol to wear during WCU's graduation and keep with them after graduation as a reminder of their time at WCU and the support that they have available for their future endeavors. Any student who wishes to celebrate their graduation with ICA is welcomed to participate.

Update for Spring 2020

Due to COVID-19, and the inability to have a face to face celebration during the Spring 2020 semester, the ICA staff created a virtual Graduation Celebration! ICA pins and printed programs were sent in the mail to all the students who wanted to participate in the celebration.

On top of that, videos of the Cherokee Land Acknowledgment and PrayerStaff Congratulations and Sand Pouring Ceremony, and the celebration's video backdrop of all participants were also created and posted on the WCU YouTube page. We also created a virtual Graduation Celebration Program to share with friends and family so they can enjoy the graduates' pictures and bios.

Enjoy each aspect of the virtual ICA Graduation Celebration Spring 2020

Intercultural Fusion

Students on-stage at intercultural fusion


A high energy platform for diverse student organizations to present themselves to the community in creative and innovative ways.

Join us the first week or so of the fall semester to learn about the Department of Intercultural Affairs. 

You'll have a chance to meet our staff, interact with students from NPHC organizations and Registered Student Organizations (RSO's).


Students dresed up and covered in paint at J'ouvert party.


Nothing says "welcome back to WCU" like a Caribbean festival. Join ICA every other year for an evening full of music, food, and traditional J'ouvert activities.

MLK Jr. Commemoration Events

Student participating in the MLK Jr. march


A series of events meant to bring our collective attention to the many ways in which the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. paved the way for social justice for all people.

To see the full list of the 2020 events visit our MLK Jr. webpage at  

Hear what the 2019 Keynote Speaker had to say in this article in the Smoky Mountain News.

poverty simulation

Could you survivie a month of poverty? Deepen your understanding of what it means to live in poverty.

Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families. But unless you've experienced poverty, it's difficult to truly understand. The Poverty Simulation bridges that gap from misconception to understanding. This simulation is an interactive immersion experience. It sensitizes community participants to the realities of poverty.

These events will be DegreePlus and will be worth R&R credit.

Project Care

Students at Valley Ballyhoo


Project CARE aims to improve academic performance and the retention of underrepresented students at Western Carolina University. In an effort to apply theory to practice, Intercultural Affairs has designed this program as a proactive measure to address the academic challenges underrepresented students face at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs).

This program pairs first year and transfer student participants with student leaders who serve as peer counselors who help them to adjust to college life academically, culturally, and socially.

Red zone

Red flags on the campus lawn.


Western Carolina University is committed to the safety and security of our campus community. Through the Red Zone education campaign we educate students to bring awareness to and to prevent sexual misconduct and violence.

The 'Red Zone' is commonly known as the period of time for college students during which they are at higher risk of experiencing sexual violence, coercion, and/or manipulation. The 'Red Zone' is typically defined as the first six weeks of the semester but we will host Red Zone activities and programs throughout the year, such as Take Back the Night, to foster an informed student body

more information

Safe zone

Safe Zone sign: an inverted triangle with rainbow colors displaying "Safe Zone: The person displaying this symbol has received training on and is sensitive to issues of gender and sexuality. This person will be understanding, supportive and trustworthy if anyone needs help, advice or just someone to talk to.


The Safe Zone program provides training to all students, faculty, staff, and community members who are interested in increasing awareness of and sensitivity to issues of gender and sexuality.  In order to receive Safe Zone certification, individuals must attend both a Part I and a Part II training.


learn more

Tunnel of Oppression

Picture of a woman sitting in a tunnel with grafitti on the wals that say voting, massshooting, body image, mental health


An interactive program that allows students, faculty and staff to have an experience with oppression, discrimination, and injustice to heighten awareness and encourage a personal commitment to ending oppression in all forms. The program usually takes about 50 minutes and includes a facilitated group discussion led by CAPS trained volunteers.

For more information go to DSA.WCU.EDU/TUNNEL



Student Organizations

Greek Life on Campus


Western Carolina University has over 170 registered student organizations many of which support students from a variety of cultures and diverse backgrounds.

Whether you're looking for an organization that supports LGBTQIA+ identified students and allies, or a group which promotes the cultural and educational benefits for the African American student body, or Hispanic and LatinX culture, or Native American culture, there is a group on campus for you.

Explore the organizations below through WCU Engage, an interactive platform for our student organizations to feature their groups and events.



Faculty and Staff

ICA Speaker Series


The Department of Intercultural Affairs is available to give Diversity Presentations to classes, student groups, departments, and other groups on campus. The purpose of these presentations is to cultivate a campus community that is accepting, knowledgeable and sensitive in diversity issues.

Request a Diversity Presentation

Tunnel of Oppression

An interactive program that allows students, faculty and staff to have an experience with oppression, discrimination, and injustice to heighten awareness and encourage a personal commitment to ending oppression in all forms. The program usually takes about 50 minutes and includes a facilitated group discussion led by CAPS trained volunteers. Faculty are encouraged to bring their classes. If you are a faculty member and would like to register your class to attend, please email

Photo of woman sitting in a tunnel with grafitti on the walls saying voting, mass shootings, body image and mental health


The Department Intercultural Affairs' Fall 2019 Tunnel of Oppression theme was The Labels We Wear: Microaggressions. Rooms explored Mental Health, Voting/Political Climate, Mass Shootings, Access to Health Care and Body Image. For more information go to DSA.WCU.EDU/TUNNEL


The Safe Zone program provides training to all faculty and staff members who are interested in increasing awareness of and sensitivity to issues of gender and sexuality. In order to receive Safe Zone certification, individuals must attend both a Part I and a Part II training.



Rainbow 101 Faculty/ Staff is a workshop designed for faculty & staff to better understand inclusive practices & how to be more supportive of LGBTQIA+ individuals in the classroom & community. Topics covered include basic terminology and concepts and examples of microaggressions against LGBTQIA+ people. For more information or to request a training contact Dean Paulk at

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