By Edith Yang
UC Santa Cruz Resource Centers will join together on Wednesday, Oct. 17, to “Build A Culture of Collaboration” at the first ever Campus Diversity Resource Centers’ Fair, to be held at the Quarry Plaza.
Aside from creating a safe space for the community, the Resource Centers hope to show the inner workings of support they have for each other. Paul Ortiz, the keynote speaker for the fair and an associate professor of community studies, said, “The tendency in any university is fragmentation, it is easy to become isolated. I think the idea behind the fair is to take a deep breath and to look at each other as friends, as colleagues, as people who really enrich and enhance each other.”
The African-American Resource and Cultural Center, American Indian Resource Center, Asian-American/Pacific Islander Resource Center, Chicano/Latino Resource Center, Lionel CantÃº Queer Center, and Women’s Center will all contribute to the dialogue between staff, students, and faculty during various activities throughout the day, such as skits, workshops, and speeches. Workshops will offer information about efforts to retain underrepresented students at UCSC, and the state of indigenous people on campus, while offering all students the opportunity to learn how they can get involved.
Jennifer Takagawa, student intern of the Asian-American/Pacific Islander Resource Center at UCSC, said that many students think Resource Centers are clubs or organizations, when in fact they are resources for students on campus. “It’s important to know because there are a lot of events [for students] that happen at the Resource Centers,” she said.
According to Duane Garner, Resource Centers are not limited to a fixed category of students. “There is a preexisting state of mind that [Resource Centers] are for certain groups, but in actuality, we’re open to everyone,” said Garner, the program coordinator for the African-American Resource Center. “When you start talking about diversity, it can pretty much mean everything.”
Lilly Pinedo, program coordinator of the Chicano/Latino Resource Center, said that the event does not have a rigid, formal structure: “It can be a very informal space where they can just come in and talk to their peers about diversity.”
Not only is this event an attempt to unify diversity on campus, it is part of history in the making at UCSC. Sister Paula Livers-Powell, founding director of the African-American Resource and Cultural Center, who has been working at UCSC for 19 years, has noticed that this fair is a result of a very motivated effort.
“I think that the cluster fair will be a representation of how we all work together,” Livers-Powell said excitedly, “[it’s] the development of a legacy to stay.”