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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus Guide: Resource centers have plenty to offer

    Editor’s note: This article is part of the Arizona Summer Wildcat’s 2014 Campus Guide. The Campus Guide is a special issue that runs every year to help introduce incoming students to the UA and campus life.

    The UA is home to over 40,000 students. Hundreds of small student clubs cater to the needs of such a large student body. In addition, there are also a large number of student resource centers operated by students and professionals. These resource centers include African American Student Affairs, Asian Pacific American Student Affairs, Chicano/Hispano Student Affairs, Native American Student Affairs, the Disability Resource Center, LGBTQ Affairs and the Women’s Resource Center, along with others.

    These resource centers offer a wide range of services to students, including opportunities to work on campus, learn leadership skills and meet people from various backgrounds that share common interests. They also provide access to scholarships and faculty mentors.

    Though these centers are designed to serve the needs of specific groups of students, it is highly encouraged that students with different backgrounds check out the various centers here. Resource centers raise awareness about often-marginalized issues. By incorporating students from diverse backgrounds into the everyday discussions happening at these various centers — whether it be in regards to the Violence Against Women Act or to the Trayvon Martin ruling — they are creating an atmosphere that promotes more widespread, engaging dialogue.

    You can also work with these centers to support people. Maybe you have a friend or family member that is disabled, and you want to raise awareness about the inaccessibility of some UA buildings for handicapped students, faculty and staff. Or maybe you’re having your own event and want to make sure that it’s universally accessible. In either case, the Disability Resource Center is happy to work with you.

    Or maybe you’re white but you grew up in a predominantly Asian neighborhood, and you feel more culturally at home in the Asian Pacific American Student Affairs, and so you hang out there. There is nothing wrong or weird about that. These centers are inclusive, not exclusive. While their primary goal is to promote the interests of their respective students, they also exist to educate and welcome anyone who might be interested in learning or participating in their cultures.

    The opportunity to learn leadership skills is also something that anyone can gain from participating in these centers. Each cultural center has a specific month in which it hosts an array of cultural activities, in addition to the regular events it has throughout the school year.

    For example, Native American Student Affairs holds events ranging from film showcases to tribal leader panels during November. These events are entirely student-organized and operated, and they are always looking to get more students involved. Event planning and management are useful skills that look good on a resume. These resource centers offer a diverse and constant flow of activities for students to actively engage in.

    The opportunities to work with such a diverse group of people in such a tight-knit setting as the UA is relatively unique; those opportunities will likely not come as easily once you have left college. If you are ever considering entering politics, marketing or any work in which you cater to the interests of diverse populations, it would behoove you to take the time to learn as much about the needs and preferences of these groups. The students that make up these centers will someday be your constituents and your customers; you should begin to get to know them.

    These centers are not exclusive fraternities or sororities that will turn you away because you don’t have enough money or because you do not fit some other criterion, nor will they haze you; instead they are safe havens for students of all types and places where anyone can walk in, make some new friends, share some laughs, learn about some different cultures and take advantage of some neat opportunities.

    Whether you go to a resource center because you are a member of the particular community it serves, interested in getting to know and help the diverse communities on campus or expanding your leadership abilities, I urge you to check these resource centers out.

    Vince is a junior studying philosophy, politics, economics and law. Follow him @DailyWildcat

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