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Campus Guide '17: Discover the communities of the UA cultural centers

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Courtesy Rachelle Simpson

Participants of the 2016 Finding Community Welcome event. The purpose of the event is to show students the diversity of communities available on campus.

With 34,000 undergraduate students enrolling at the UA this fall, campus can seem like an easy place to get lost. Fortunately, UA students, staff and faculty will help incoming students discover the communities on campus during Finding Community Welcome 2017.

The event will be held on Aug. 24 in the South Grand Ballroom at the Student Union Memorial Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Finding Community Welcome will incorporate various activities to inform students and staff of the opportunities UA cultural and resource centers have to offer.

UA’s campus hosts several centers designed to increase connectivity in the community. These include the Women’s Resource Center, African American Student Affairs, Asian Pacific Student Affairs and others.

Steven Martin, director of Native American Student Affairs, is heading the planning committee for the second year in a row. 

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“We try to focus and gear it towards incoming freshmen,” Martin said. “We want our freshmen to get connected to those resources and services on campus that can best support them.”

Elizabeth Soltero, director at the Adalberto and Ana Guerrero Student Center, said it’s important to let students know the institution supports them. 

“Our hope is to provide a big warm welcome to students and spread the word that they can find a ‘home away from home’ in our center spaces,” she said.

The LGBTQ Resource Center’s main messages at the event will be to first give students an idea of the space and highlight their supportive programs, according to Deanna Lewis, internship coordinator and graduate assistant with LGBTQ Affairs.

Nura Dualeh, director of undergraduate research and graduate preparation programs at the UA Office of Student Engagement and Career Development, speaks to a participant of the 2016 Finding Community Welcome event. The event displays all the different community groups on campus that are available for students.

“When you walk in it’s just a space that is conducive to building community and it’s a place that’s comfortable,” she said. “We have LGBTQ+ support group[s], and really this is a safe place for students, faculty and staff to talk openly in a supportive environment about issues that impact their lives.”

Brenda Hamilton, office manager at the Disability Resource Center, said the event is important as it makes students aware of many aspects of their college experience.

“We definitely want our name out there so students are aware that we are available for those conversations,” Hamilton said.

The center also welcomes students to use their lounge area and the technology available.

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“Navigating the university is a big endeavor,” said Sarah Gonzales, assistant director at Common Ground Alliance. “Letting students know there are multiple ways to engage and find community makes that process more meaningful.”

The event will offer free admission, free prizes and free food, which includes a vegetarian option. The staff is planning for around 400 guests to attend. Martin said the committee wants a high-energy experience with a carnival theme.

“We have asked all of the resource centers to host some type of carnival game within their area to give away raffle tickets,” he said.

Martin said the committee is working with ASUA to come up with items to give away. The first 200 people will also receive a free backpack.


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