USC’s cultural centers have discovered that students don’t want to be “pigeon-holed” by their ethnicities. So they decided to do something about it. This year they combined forces to welcome students at the first Project ReMiX New Student Symposium.
Though fall classes hadn’t yet begun, Taper Hall was full of students on Aug. 26 for the symposium.
Project ReMiX, a collaborative effort between Asian Pacific American Student Services (APASS), the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs (CBCSA) and El Centro Chicano, began as a monthly workshop for mixed race students. Now in its fourth year, the Student Affairs program has expanded its services to reach even more students.
“We expanded our programming in terms of looking at more intercultural and interracial issues and not just topics related to mixed race individuals,” said Jade Agua, former assistant director of APASS. “CBCSA, APASS and El Centro Chicano have always held our student welcome programs separately. This year, we decided to do a new student symposium together because we’re finding that in all of our communities, our students feel turned off by anything that is ethnic specific. They don’t want to be pigeon-holed, and they want to explore outside of their own ethnicities.”
The symposium began with brunch and an involvement fair with student organizations, nonprofit agencies and campus departments sharing information. The cultural centers and the LGBT Resource Center presented a variety of workshops throughout the day.
APASS held workshops that focused on its leadership development, peer mentoring and career mentoring programs.
CBCSA and El Centro Chicano partnered to present a panel featuring minority faculty members at USC, a student leadership panel and a workshop discussing alternative spring break programs offered by their centers.
“The goal is to create more visibility and to reach out to more students to let them know our office is open to them if they want to learn about African-American culture,” said Rosalind Conerly, assistant director of CBCSA.
Corliss Bennett, director of CBCSA, presented her popular “This Ain’t High School” workshop, which talks about how to transition from high school to college, where to sit in the classroom, how to interact with professors, how to speak up in class and how to ask questions.
Vincent Vigil, director of the LGBT Resource Center, wanted to structure workshops around LGBT and queer involvement at USC, queer students of color, becoming an LGBT ally and Asian Pacific Islander/queer identified students.
“I’ve seen a definite increase in Asian-American students that have been participating in our LGBT programs compared to the other minority groups,” he said. “So we wanted to have a discussion about how students choose to be involved with Asian-American student services or LGBT services, why they make their choices, and how they can mix those two identities together and be accepted on campus.”