The Center for Intercultural Relations at San Diego State held a series of community receptions for women and minority groups to start the semester.
Eleven receptions were held in total, and they included Asian Pacific Islander, Native-American, African-American, Jewish, Muslim, Filipino, Hispanic and LGBTQ groups.
The events aim to promote diversity and provide networking opportunities for new and current students, according to the center.
Spoken word and cultural performances were among some of the live performances that added a bit of flare to the community events.
Christy Quiogue, the center’s director, said the gatherings provide the opportunity to introduce new students to the SDSU campus.
“Having these events (creates) a welcoming atmosphere for new students,” Quiogue said. “As new students there’s unfamiliarity and not knowing what resources are available, so having these types of gatherings allows new students, freshman and transfer, to know what clubs are are on campus, and what resources are available to access.”
The Latino and Chicano event began with attendees mingling while student leaders promoted their organizations. That was followed by a few ice-breaker activities.
Funding and refreshments were provided by the Cal Coast Credit Union.
From Latino Greek life organizations to the Chicana and Chicano Studies department, many Latino groups on campus were in attendance.
Students had the opportunity to talk to staff and faculty about various student resources on campus.
Counselors were on hand to discuss counseling services and student success programs, and Cal Coast Credit Union offered financial education presentations to student organizations at the event.
The series was first launched in 2009.
Erika Perez, an administrative assistant for the center, said some students can be intimidated by the campus culture.
She hopes the receptions will help keep students from becoming overwhelmed.
“They feel a little bit of a culture shock or they don’t know how to navigate through their classes, feeling like one of the only students of their community in a 500 (person) lecture class,” Perez said. “Bringing these events here helps them to recognize other people who might be in their class, or might be in organizations they’re interested in, building that sense of familia.”
The first community reception of the fall semester was organized by Perez, along with Chicana and Chicano studies professor Isidro Ortiz and the Association of Chicana Activists.
“I think just because this is a hispanic-serving institution, we must make sure that we are really truly serving the hispanic community,” Perez said.
Many of the organizations at the event agreed on the importance of working together.
Chicana and Chicano Studies senior and A.Ch.A member Jeanette Corona said the student organizations at the reception share common goals and interests to serve the Chicano, Chicana, Latino and Latina communities of SDSU.
“I think it’s very important for us as organizations to at least have one day where we all are in the same room, because we’re all pretty much working for a lot of issues that are interconnected,” Corona said.
Along with student organizations, various alumni and staff were at the events.
“Another thing I pointed out during the event was how many of us already graduated, how many of us have a masters degree, how many of us have a Ph.D,” Perez said. “Being able to set physical examples of people here who already made it that far are examples to us of how we can make it there.”
In addition to providing networking, the series also promotes diversity.
Civil engineering junior Carlos Guzman said events like these enhance the campus community by making SDSU a place for more than simple classroom instruction.
“I feel like it broadens the vision of everybody, so they know there’s more to the school than just regular classes,” Guzman said. “You can see other aspects of culture.”
The Center for Intercultural Relations organizes several events each semester designed to promote and serve minority communities at SDSU.
The center recently moved to a new location in suite 250 on the second floor of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union.
Rooms for use by student organizations can be reserved through the center’s website.