By Linsa Dean
On Sept. 30, 2021, The Commons hosted the first-ever LCCC Minority Fair. The bright room filled with the sound of an LC Band and the voices of participants, and soon enough the smell of fresh pizza would join. The fair was designed to help both current and future LC students find resources. Student Activities Coordinator and Black Student Association advisor, Jared Hennings, oversaw the event. His primary goal? To set students up for success. Dr. Sean Hill, Vice President of Student Engagement, had a similar goal. “We wanted to make minority students feel welcome on campus and I feel we accomplished what we set out to accomplish.”
Amongst the resources present were tables and staff from the Nursing Program, Student Services, Student Success Center, The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, Financial Aid, and the Black Student Association, and Student Counseling. LC Counselor, Terri Austin, stated, “I feel that it’s important for all students to be aware of the resources offered and this is a great way to encourage minority students to take part in programs.”
Generally, the view of the event was positive. Nursing student Kayla Atchison brought attention to the lack of diversity in nursing, seeing this fair as an “awesome” event to connect with minority students. Student Anthony Brown felt that the event was a good thing and bringing awareness to resources. He also expressed worry that students would choose to not use the resources- even if they knew about them.
Some services to note from the event include:
- Student Services: This resource helps students who are struggling with career and life bumps. Please contact Alice Bunjan, the Coordinator, at email@example.com
- Student Success Center: This resource helps students who need extra assistance with school work. Head to lc.edu/ssc or call 618-468-4SSC to book an appointment.
- Veteran Services: If you are a veteran or active military service member please visit lc.edu/Veterans for more information.
- Financial Aid: This department is dedicated to helping students afford school. Please note that the scholarship application period runs from Oct. 1, 2021, to March 1, 2021. Visit lc.edu/financial_aid/ for more information.
The Black Student Association also was represented. Student Anthony Brown took a minute to explain the importance of BSA. “BSA gives African American students their own club so they don’t have to try and fit in where they may not feel like they fit in.”
The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center representatives highlighted their minority student internship program and dedication to community connection. For more information about minority student internships please visit their website, applications for the program open in February. Due to the previous success of the program, it has at least three more years of funding. Representative Amy Moore also established that the NGRREC also studies the impact of the rivers on human communities. Her co-representative, Jen Young, added, “If we’re not connecting to the community, we’re not running as we should.” Their table also featured a survey asking participants how their program could expand their inclusivity.
Student response to the event was positive with all four interviewed students saying they hoped the event would become yearly, if not once per semester. Student Denise Swain looked around the room briefly before saying, “I feel comfortable and valued because we have these resources.” Fellow student Chayvon Buckingham praised the free pizza and expressed appreciation that non-minority students had “stopped by”.
Students Mariah Saddler and Jailyne Nichols both expressed sentiment about having a space to connect with other students and discuss life and issues. Mariah highlighted the event. “The energy is very come as you are and try to move forward to where you need to be. It feels amazing.” Jailyne touched on Jared Hennings’s goal. “I think it’s opened my eyes into more opportunities that campus has.” Jailyne did note that “there was nothing about it on the Edwardsville campus.”
Dr. Sean Hill stated he wished for the event to at least be yearly, “It gives us a way to connect with students. Mental health has become an issue due to isolation. The goal is to have, as safely as possible, to have students back together and feeling like they’re supported.”