TAYLOR OLSON | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
Programs and centers under The Office of Multicultural Student Services are still virtually accessible to WSU students of color.
The office is trying to come up with programming that follows the public safety guidelines, said Stephen Bischoff, WSU director of MSS. This includes creating Zoom rooms for the programs that students can enter.
Student organization centers like the African American Student Center, Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Center and Chicanx/Latinx Student Center are continuing to work together to help students of color, Bischoff said.
The office is working with the MSS mentoring program to reach out to students, said Joelle Berg, Native American Programs retention specialist.
The amount of returning students attending virtual programs is equal to the amount attending in-person before moving online, Berg said.
Student mentors are reaching out to new incoming students through social media, phone calls and emails, Bischoff said.
He said it is challenging to receive engagement from new incoming students because the virtual environment does not allow for casual interaction.
“I think there’s a lot of weight on our students as a whole, but definitely our students of color,” Bischoff said.
He said the MSS office and the mentors are there to help students get connected with resources like Counseling and Psychological Services and Crimson Community Grant. There are also technology resources like Chromebooks and hotspots.
The Team Mentoring Program led by Manuel Acevedo has been reaching out to students in STEM fields, as well as engaging with faculty and team mentors, Bischoff said.
Student-led conferences like Shaping High School Asian Pacific Islanders for the Next Generation are connected with Student Involvement and will happen soon, Bischoff said.
The Children of Aztlan Sharing Higher Education conference, which focuses on Chicanx and Latinx high school students, will host a conference later this fall, Bischoff said.
The Chicanx Latinx Student Center will host events for Latinx Heritage Month, Bischoff said.
While no other centers are open, the Native American Programs office is open for limited hours, Berg said.
The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays to provide services like printing, internet usage and grab-and-go snacks, she said. However, the center will not be used as a hangout space.
If a student’s basic needs are not being met, it is hard for them to be successful, Berg said.
The center is also hosting events like a virtual bingo game Sept. 23 where students can meet the center’s new director, Steven Martin. There will also be a First Friday Feed in October, she said.
Both MSS and Native American Programs are releasing newsletters to students so they can know the resources that are available to them, Bischoff said.
November is Native American Heritage Month, for which the Native American Programs is also planning to do virtual events, Berg said.
Berg said she would like to see more engagement, meet new people and give students a sense of community.
“I’m very proud to say we exist because students pushed … to have support on a campus like ours,” Bischoff said. “[It] not only affirmed culture, not only affirmed different identities, but also help these students flourish on campuses, especially at predominately white institutions.”