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Members of Alpha Phi Gamma, UNLV's Asian-American interest sorority enjoying the multicultural mixer (Photo/Wesley Juhl).
Members of Alpha Phi Gamma, UNLV's Asian-American interest sorority enjoying the multicultural mixer (Photo/Wesley Juhl).

Multicultural Mixer Promotes Organizations for Underrepresented Students at UNLV

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Over 200 students attended UNLV’s New Beginnings diversity mixer in the Student Union ballroom last week.

The Office of Civic Engagement and Diversity (OCED) along with the Multicultural Greek Council and SODA (Students Organizing Diversity Activities) hosted New Beginnings.

The event, as well as next week’s New Horizons mixer specifically for LGBTQIA students, seeks to make minority students aware of campus resources.

“New Beginnings is geared towards the entire underrepresented population,” said Nadia Omar, Program Coordinator for Multicultural Programs at OCED. “That includes students of color, LGBT and students with disabilities, so we reached out to the entire campus.”

Many of UNLV’s diversity organizations, like UNLV Spectrum for LGBT students and the Asian-American interest sorority Alpha Phi Gamma, ran information tables at the event after the involvement fair finished.

“It’s a great kick off to the new year.” said UNLV senior Michelle Chang of Alpha Phi Gamma. “Lots of fresh faces.”

Students enjoyed music and free food before splitting into groups for discussions. The topics included ways to get involved on campus and the challenges involved as underrepresented students.

Most attendees agreed about the importance of getting involved on campus. Students also discussed the difficulties of organizing both old and new groups on a largely commuter campus.

Patrick Alejaga said he wants to remember more than academics.

“You don’t just go home after class,” he said. “It’s something that you enjoy with your friends, and you actually give back to the community.”

Alejaga also said time management may be an obstacle to being active with campus groups.

“We’re hoping that students feel connected to campus, graduate and be successful,” Omar said. “We do a lot of assessments, because we want to make sure every student feels welcome at UNLV.”

The Division of Student Affairs coordinates the assessments every three years. The 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement reported that Native American, Hispanic and multiracial students tended to rate UNLV higher than others.

The survey also said that 39 percent of freshmen and 32 percent of seniors said that co-curricular activities enriched their overall educational experience.

Omar said they’re still collecting electronic surveys, but the responses OCED received so far, attendees indicated an increased knowledge of UNLV groups and resources.

New Horizons is in the Student Union ballroom Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Contact reporter Wesley Juhl at wes.juhl@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @WesJuhl.

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