Last Thursday, thousands of students gathered on Central Campus for the final day of Festifall, hosted by the Center for Campus Involvement. Festifall, an annual recruitment event for student organizations, began at Gerstacker Grove on North Campus Tuesday night and carried into Thursday with afternoon and evening sessions occurring on Central Campus.
In an email to The Daily, Nicholas Smith, CCI director and University Unions associate director said “With 1,600 student organizations on campus, it could be hard to know where to begin your search to find (a) community.”
Although Festifall is centered around student organization recruitment, various University of Michigan tables with administrative staff were present with intentions of educating freshmen on U-M based resources.
In an interview with The Daily, Dr. Kyra Shahid, director of Trotter Multicultural Center said “I think one of the things that’s important for students to understand is that the University is decentralized, which means there isn’t really a central hub to really find information.”
Shahid recalled the freshman experience and emphasized the significance of exploring communities outside of student dorms and academic disciplines.
“There are so many other things that are happening,” Shahid said.
Trotter plans to act as a hub to keep students of Color engaged with identity-based organizations through social media engagement and Trotter’s newsletter.
According to the University’s Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, 35% of the student population identifies as non-white. In an interview with The Daily, LSA sophomore Jerianne Clarke said she is not surprised by that statistic because of the Black Action Movement and the University’s lack of effort to increase Black enrollment.
“But I know that with more representation, doing more events and getting publicity, connecting to communities outside of Ann Arbor, we’re able to spread our voices so that the universe can see that we’re here and people want to be here, (people) who look like us, and that we can strive to be higher and successful,” Clarke said.
Shahid said she also wants students to remember that they belong at the University and that Trotter Multicultural Center is a space for them to explore their identity and find community.
“I want it to be affirmed and normal for you to find space that not only represents your culture, but space where you can really test your own boundaries and come outside of your comfort zone,” said Shahid.
Smith also recommends that students use the Wolverine Life app to find organizations based on their interests. Students can sign-up for a 30-minute Involvement Drop-In appointment to discuss student involvement and create a plan for getting involved on campus. Students of Color looking to find solidarity and community could use the list below as a start to finding identity-based and professional student organizations at the University. Please contact the person listed next to the name of the group for information on how to join.
- American Sign Language Club: Andrea Hassig, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Armenian Students’ Cultural Association: Dashiell Silvers, email@example.com
- Asian American Association: Vivian Yuan, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Caribbean Student Association: Jerianne Clarke, email@example.com
- Color Coded UMich: Daijour Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Filipino American Student Association (FASA): Bryson Johnston, email@example.com
- La Casa: Carlos Pirela, firstname.lastname@example.org
- If students of Latinx descent were unable to attend Festifall, Únete, an event for Latinx-serving clubs to recruit new members, will occur on September 7, 2023 from 7-9:30pm on the Diag.
- Michigan Sahana: Navya Paingol, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Notable Black & Gay: Lanya Hood, email@example.com or Laila Kitchen, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Public Health Students of African Descent: Mildred Wallace, email@example.com
The University is composed of students from a wide range of backgrounds. This list is not an accurate representation of all of the student organizations catered to students of Color. Shahid encourages students to drop in to Trotter Multicultural Center and ask staff and students for more information on an organization they seek to fit their needs. Also, please visit Maize Pages for more information and organizations representing your identity. The contact information for student organizations is not always accurate or up to date on Maize Pages, so please refer to one of the other resources mentioned above for additional help.
MiC Contributor Anchal Malh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.