Student organizations promote inclusion, identity

As the fall semester kicks off, many student organizations are renewing their efforts to uphold their values and pursue their long term goals. Two of the most prominent student organizations on campus, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC), are using the new year to promote diversity and inclusion on campus through policy changes, events and active engagement with the student body.

USG is an umbrella organization tasked with representing the interests of the students to the administration. A notable example of this is USG’s responsibility to allocate approximately $200,000 of funds among nearly 200 student clubs and organizations each semester.

According to third-year student and USG Treasurer Tim O’Shea, one of USG’s major focuses this year is to ensure that, “All voices will have an opportunity to be heard throughout our processes.”

O’Shea said that this goal entails converting the previously first-year-only “First-Year Caucus” to a more inclusive “First-Year to CWRU Caucus,” which involves not only first-year students but also anyone who has not yet completed two full semesters at Case Western Reserve University.

“Logistically,” O’Shea explained, “this means that transfer students will have the opportunity to both vote and run in the fall election for the First-Year Caucus occurring next week.”

When asked for his favorite aspect of participating with USG, third-year student and Vice President of Public Relations Parv Sud said he especially values, “the opportunity USG presents to the student body to have their voices heard and to bring about meaningful change.”

UDC is another prominent umbrella organization on campus, which also allocates funds to partner organizations and collaborates with student organizations on campus. UDC aspires to uphold eight pillars of diversity: ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, ability, age, gender, religion and race, according to second-year student and UDC Vice President of Public Relations Joel Fuentes.

He said, “[By serving] as an advocating body for diversity groups, [UDC is] a platform for voicing student diversity concerns and a resource for organizations in regards to diversity programming.”

This spring, UDC will collaborate with the University Programming Board to host the fourth annual World Expo, which integrates many different student organizations, and, according to third-year student and UDC Vice President of Communication Alisa Quemado, highlights the world’s cultures and identities.

Quemado said that UDC’s long term goals at CWRU involve the establishment of “an Identity Center where UDC and its organizations will have a home, and where students of all identities will have a safe space to truly be themselves.”