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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Black students get boost from office

Kyle+Wasson%2FArizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ABarbea+Williams%2C+adjunct+faculty+at+the+UA%2C+instructs+students+on+dancing+at+an+African-American+Affairs+open+house+on+Wednesday%2C+Aug.+29%2C+2012.+
Kyle Wasson/Arizona Daily Wildcat Barbea Williams, adjunct faculty at the UA, instructs students on dancing at an African-American Affairs open house on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.

Over the past four years, the number of black students enrolled at the UA has increased, yet it continues to lag behind the growth of other ethnic minority groups.

Approximately 39 percent of the freshman class identifies as African American, yet black students comprise only about 3 percent of the school’s overall undergraduate population, according to Maria Moore, program director of African American Student Affairs.

The Office of African American Student Affairs kicked off the semester with an open house on Tuesday that brought in nearly 70 students to meet and greet new faces on campus and learn about the resources available to them.

The office provides an environment for students who are interested in experiencing the African American community and culture, while at the same time providing academic resources, Moore said.

Students at the open house had the opportunity to learn about different on-campus organizations and programs that aim to better their educational experience.

“The office is intended to provide space to perceivably focus on the needs and issues with African American students at the UA,” Moore said.

Representatives from 15 different organizations and facilities, including the Dean of Students Office, University of Arizona Police Department, Think Tank, Career Services, College of Medicine and many more attended the open house to inform students about the services they offer and how students can take advantage of these resources to help them strive for a successful college experience.

“Our goal is to provide both network and academic support to students at the UA,” Moore said, “as well as provide space for students to connect and socialize with students of their same interests and concerns while engaging in enriching the African American experience at the UA.”

With so many different resources on campus, the office acts as a “highlighter” to bring out the most beneficial services that may interest students. In many ways, students may look at the office as a bridge that will get them from the admissions process to adapting to the campus life, Moore said.

Juanita Rogers, a pre-public health junior and president of the National Society of Black Engineers, attended the open house to inform students of the potential possibilities that are offered to them on campus. During the open house, speeches were given by Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey, representatives from different organizations and graduate assistant of African American Student Affairs.

“We love you, we love that you are here, but it is about you leaving us in four years and taking advantage of all the resources that are provided for you,” Humphrey said in his welcome speech.
Gabrielle Douglas, a retailing and consumer sciences freshman, said she attended the open house to meet new people, see what she can get involved in and make new friendships.

“One of the benefits that we have is this office focuses on this small population of students where we can offer student life support,” Moore said. “The main goal is to provide space for the students and have effort in reaching out to the American experience while also learning about social justice, academic excellence, and leadership.”

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