Although summer has ended for students, a barbecue at the park is still possible with the Welcome Back Barbecue hosted by the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center and El Centro.
The barbecue was hosted Wednesday night at Lee Martinez Park as an informal event to host returning and new members of the organizations with food, sports and lots of mingling.
APACC Director JoAnn Cornell said a welcome back event during the first week of school is a fun way for students to connect with each other, share resources and build a community.
“There’s a lot of intersectionality for a lot of students who may identify in different ways, so this is a great place for students to just see each other,” Cornell said. “This is the first week of classes, so it’s always a chance for them to have some fun together because I know things will get busy fast. So we do this for a chance to have fun, get away from campus for a little bit.”
Cornell said the barbecue is aimed at providing a comforting setting for students to feel welcome in a new environment, especially on such a large campus.
“We do a lot (for) the first year students coming in,” Cornell said. “(They) just meet other returning students and build community that you see here between students, faculty and staff.”
The purpose of welcome events is to reach out to students so they can feel comfortable wanting to join the Student Diversity Programs and Services and ease the stress of the semester starting.
So we do this for a chance to have fun, get away from campus for a little bit.”-JoAnn Cornell, APACC director.
Lindsay Gomez Banuelos, the coordinator for La Conexión on campus, which is a program for first year students in El Centro, reflected on her experiences in the program and said events like the barbecue are important because they bring students into the SDPS offices.
“It helps creates those bonds,” Banuelos said. “It’s the first event; it’s literally the first week of classes, so it’s our first introduction for not only El Centro, but the diversity offices in general. So, being able to have something like this gets students to come into the office and see if they want to be part of it.
APACC and El Centro have been collaborating for a few years now. It’s important for both SDPS offices to work together and attend each other’s events during the school year. No matter what a student associates themselves with, they are welcomed to attend diversity events.
Emily Pisqui can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @emilypisq15.