CESA helps minorities adjust to U

Located on the third floor of the Union, the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs works to ensure that minority students are afforded all of the benefits of a successful university education.

The center offers services targeting ethnic and economically disadvantaged students to help them achieve inclusion within the U community. The center also acts as a referral agency, a liaison to both campus and community members and as an advocate for student issues.

Among the services offered by the center are assistance in choosing a major, developing individual academic programs based on intellectual interests, time-management assistance, technology services and avenues of campus involvement.

“One of our goals is to ease the transition of incoming and first-year students,” said Simone Fritz, an academic program coordinator for the center. “We offer orientation classes and discussions for minority freshman and first year students to help them get involved.”

Fritz said that there are essentially three types of counselors at the U: departmental counselors, general academic counselors and specialist counselors, like herself and others at the center, who are concerned with “whole-person counseling,” or the development of the entire individual, not just one facet of his/her life.

“We’re looking at overall issues facing students of color,” Fritz said. “We talk about what it means to be a minority student at the U and in Salt Lake City.”

Through the center, low income students can apply for vouchers for tutoring sessions led by U tutors. Free tutoring in math and writing is also available to students through the center.

The center sponsors five ethnic minority student associations, including the Asian American Student Association, the Black Student Association, the Inter-Tribal Student Association, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlan and the Pacific Islander Student Association.

Fritz said that all of the aforementioned organizations are student-run and focus on positive academic, intellectual and social development of both those students involved and the U community at large.

“Many students leave the state [of Utah] after college,” Fritz said. “Cultural competency is important because many of these students will be working and living with people of color. It’s not an issue of if, but when. White students benefit from diversity, too.”

Along these lines, one of the center’s goals in upcoming school years is to foster a more cooperative relationship between itself and non-ethnic students and student organizations.

Although the center is focused on issues pertaining to ethnic students, interested individuals need not be of a minority to use the center’s services or get involved in its activities.

For more information, call 581-8151 or visit Union 318.

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