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7 Ways to Find Your Community

By Julia Ann Easley on October 10, 2016 in Student Life

UC Davis is a big place with thousands of acres and more than 35,000 students. And, in part because of that, it offers lots of opportunities to find your community and make the campus your home away from home.

1. Discover community at our student centers

Two students at a computer talk
Interns discuss their work at the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center at UC Davis. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)

Chill with friends old and new, study, and work together on issues at our student centers. UC Davis recently opened a center for Native American students at University House and an interim office for Strategic Chicana/o and Latina/o Retention Initiatives is coming. The Center for African Diaspora Student Success opened its doors in 2015 and the AB540 and Undocumented Student Center was established in 2014. The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center and the Women’s Resources and Research Center have long been on campus.

2. Live and learn in themed residence halls

Exterior photo of Alder Hall
Alder Hall is the current home of the Asian Pacific American Theme House. (UC Davis photo)

Find a home in the Living-Learning Communities of our residence halls. These 15 optional programs bring together interested students and host activities on a variety of themes. Open to all students, they include the African American and African Community, Asian Pacific American Theme House, Casa Cuauhtémoc (Chicano-Latino) Theme House, Middle East/South Asian Multi-Ethnic Program, Native American Theme Program and Rainbow House. Others gather around interests in entrepreneurship, major and career exploration, engineering, health and wellness, the arts and the University Honors Program. Some have optional seminars for academic credit.

3. Build new skills for bridging differences

 Two dialogue bubbles
Convocation kicked off a yearlong theme of "Inspiring Dialogue and Community."

Sometimes, it can be hard to see beyond differences. The theme of "Inspiring Dialogue and Community" that began at this year's convocation will help us live out our Principles of Community, an aspirational statement of campus values. Among a series of programs is a 90-minute workshop to help participants consider how to respond to a comment, look or action that triggers anger, hurt or offense. The Office of Campus Dialogue and Deliberation offered "Choices in the Heat of the Moment" in October, and more dates may be added.

4. Celebrate diversity at campus events

Drummers at a powwow
The Native American Powwow is a highlight among campus cultural celebrations. (Paul Chan/photo)

Join in the celebrations as our communities showcase their dance, music, film and food and have frank discussions about contemporary issues during Cultural Days. The 2017 events organized through our Cross Cultural Center include:

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center hosted a National Coming Out Day Open Mic event on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and other events for Transgender and GNC (gender nonconforming) Awareness Day Oct. 19, Intersex Awareness Day Oct. 26, Non-Monosexual Awareness Day Nov. 15 and Asexual Awareness Day Nov. 29.

5. Join a student club

A lion dancer surprises a student
A lion dancer from the Golden Turtle Lion Dance Association surprises a student at an annual orientation event where students can learn about campus clubs. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)

The hundreds of student organizations on campus include dozens of ethnic and cultural groups — from the Chicano and Latino Engineers and Scientists Society to the Japanese American Student Society — and others focused on academics, community service, politics and recreation. Students, faculty and staff members mix it up in 27 different sports through Intramural Sports. And about 3,000 students belong to nearly 70 sororities and fraternities, where students bond as they pursue scholarship, leadership, service and community. Groups and organizations on campus also minister to the spiritual life. Check them out, because our student organizations welcome all interested students.

6. Work together for change you want to see

Students at work
Students at the Student Recruitment and Retention Center provide programs and services to encourage others from historically underrepresented groups to pursue higher education and succeed at UC Davis. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis photo)

UC Davis students have a tradition of making a difference. Through clubs, student centers and leadership programs, like the ME/SA (Middle Eastern and South Asian) Leadership Retreat, you can meet others who share your passions, develop your skills and make things happen. Our very own Cross Cultural Center had its roots in student activism. And the student-run programs and services of the Student Recruitment and Retention Center encourage students of historically underrepresented groups to pursue higher education and help them succeed at UC Davis. Our Beyond Tolerance Program provides up to $200 for student programs and events that encourage the appreciation and celebration of diversity on campus.

7. Serve

One of the great ways to feel a sense of belonging is to serve in the community. In addition to working with a student organization, you can also get involved through the Community Service Resource Center at UC Davis. Part of the Internship and Career Center, it helps connect campus members with one-time opportunities and long-term commitments with international and local nonprofits. To get started, subscribe to a weekly listserv or check out the database of service opportunities.

About the author(s)

Julia Ann Easley Julia Ann Easley of News and Media Relations writes and supports communications about student life, graduate and undergraduate education, international activities, emergency preparedness and more.

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