Minority welcome to discuss programs

By Jen Bland

Minority welcome night festivities will begin at 7 p.m. tomorrow night in the Regency Room of the Holmes Student Center.

The event is coordinated by the Counseling and Student Development Center, but the efforts of many other organizations are required to make it work.

This is the fifth year the welcome night has been held. Past welcome nights have met with tremendous success.

Van Amos, programming coordinator of the Center for Black Studies, said, “This is one of the best events the Counseling and Student Development Center sponsors that relates to the minority population.”

Amos describes the purpose of welcome night as a way for new and old students to get acquainted with the organizations available to them.

“It’s a good way for incoming students to meet new friends and faculty and to begin to develop their support systems, particularly first-year students,” he said.

“This year we hope for more participation from the university community to come out and welcome new minority students,” Amos added.

Rolanda Burris, a member of the organizing committee, said the purpose of the welcome night is to welcome new minorities and help them get acquainted with students, faculty and the NIU campus.

Welcome night offers various minority organizations a forum where they can recruit and provide a comfortable atmosphere for new minorities.

Burris said she expects between 30 and 40 organizations to be represented.

There also will be several speakers including NIU President John La Tourette, Provost J. Carroll Moody, Student Affairs Vice-President Barbara Henley, SA President Abe Andrzejewski, Elizabeth Jaquez, member of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), and Amahdi Bradley, member of the Black Student Union.

Organizations also will have tables set up where students can obtain information about specific organizations. Refreshments will be provided and there will be a raffle for various prizes.

“It’s just a way of letting minority students know we’re glad they’re here, and they’re important,” Burris added. “We can also let them know what services are available to them.”

Michelle Bringas, programming coordinator of University Resources for Latinos, said welcome night gives students the opportunity to connect with other students and faculty.

“It lets them know about the various organizations on campus so they can decide where they might fit in,” Bringas said. “It’s also a lot of fun.”

Amos said he likes to refer to welcome night as, “one-stop shopping for organizations, programs and activities that relate to the black and brown community.”

He also said it is usually the first opportunity the students have to meet and shake hands with high level administrators.