Music and laughter spilled from Ballroom A of the Jack Overman Student Center Tuesday evening as students from different cultures enjoyed free food and games during the Office of Student Diversity’s Back to School Social.
About 100 students, comprised of members from Hispanics of Today (HOT), the Black Student Association (BSA), the Native American Student Association (NASA), and their guests gathered for the annual event from 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 28. The Back to School Social is the first big event of the year for the Office of Student Diversity (OSD). The event is geared toward getting the students acquainted with each other as well as to introduce them to the many resources and various student organizations available to them in the OSD.
Harold Wallace III, assistant director of the OSD, said the social is not only a great way to recruit new members but it really keeps the upperclassmen actively involved as well.
“We want the students who are current members to go out … and find new members themselves,” Wallace said. “We like to get our upperclassmen involved and get (new students) to be just as active as them.”
The food and games were carefully designed in order to make everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. The buffet laid with savory and sweet treats and iced beverages, which the group enjoyed after playing ice-breaking games.
“(The games are) really to kind of help ‘beat the cool,’ because some of our students—especially some of our incoming freshmen—they may come in and not want to loosen up (right away),” Wallace said. “They may try to be worried about how everybody feels or looks at them, but we want them to get involved as soon as possible.”
La’Sha Thomas, senior in psychology, is the president of BSA. She said she wanted new and old members to remember that the OSD is always available to them.
“We want to make sure that we not only tell them we have resources, but we commit with them throughout the year and throughout the rest of their academic career,” Thomas said. “We not only want to show our diversity on campus, we want to share it with our campus.”
Kali Champmon, junior in political science, is vice president of BSA and believes this year’s social was a great success.
“I think it was a great turnout,” Champmon said. “I’m excited to see everybody and meet everyone. We seem to have a lot of people who are really interested in our organization, so I’m excited to see how this year goes.”
Cassandra Roque, junior in sustainability management, is president of HOT and agreed with Champmon about how the social went.
“This worked so good,” Roque said. “I feel like the activities we planned, like the icebreakers … turned out perfectly fine. … We are trying to create an environment where people feel comfortable to contact each other if they have issues (that they may need help with) … (we are) creating a network … because it can be difficult to transition.”
Jim Brumfield, an alumnus in school psychology, said he came to learn more about diverse cultures.
“I think it was a great mixer,” Brumfield said. “It had some good leadership here and it looks like most everybody had fun.”