By Lea Staedtler
New and returning students will be happy to find a new resource center on campus. The Warhawk Connection Center (WCC) added a new front desk to the former open space shortly before the semester started. Interns staff the desk five days a week to provide resources and assistance to their fellow students.
The WCC is located behind the computer lab by Career & Leadership Development in the University Center. It offers an open area with tables for students to study and socialize and a new reception desk, which serves as the welcoming face of the center.
Mai Yer Yang is one of two coordinators for the center. She explained that the center is just over a year old.
“The Warhawk Connection Center used to be the Multicultural Center and the Involvement Center,” Yang said. “We expanded it to include all the other diversity groups that don’t necessarily fall under the multicultural umbrella.”
It is now the home of several resident organizations, including the Black Student Union (BSU), Disability Advocacy & Awareness Coalition (DAAC), IMPACT, International Student Association (ISA), Latinos Unidos (LU), Native American Cultural Awareness Association (NACAA), Non Trad Pad, PB Poorman PRIDE Resource Center, Southeast Asian Organization (SAO), Student Entertainment and Awareness League (SEAL), Student Involvement Office and the Whitewater Student Government (WSG).
The center provides resources for all the organizations on campus such as an area with tools to create butcher blocks and other promotional material. It also is home to the Connection Student Council, which represents all the resident organizations and gives them a platform to collaborate and help each other out, Yang said.
Any student not involved in an organization can use the WCC, too. The desk offers a seed library, documentary films, books and games that can be rented. Office supplies are available on request as well.
Yang said the center is still a work in progress.
“We want to try to establish the Warhawk Connection Center into a one-stop-shop,” she said. “There will be brochures from different departments, so that if you want to know what’s going on on campus, you just stop here and find all the information about it. If you have any questions related to academics or anything else, you know where to go or who to talk to.”
The new reception area made it necessary to hire student interns for the first time this year. Four students staff the desk Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, the center itself stays open until the UC closes at night. A fifth intern is responsible for the diversity social media presence and works in collaboration with Human Resources & Diversity.
Becky Wintringer, one of the interns, explained that, aside from working the desk, they all have special projects. She is in charge of planning the Southeast Asian Cultural Immersion Trip, which is happening in April. She said she has seen a lot of people come in who are just curious about the new desk. Nonetheless, she hopes more people will get to know the area.
“We house so many different organizations that the organizations know about us but not necessarily the general students body,” she said. “We would love to see more people utilizing the space.”
Jacquelynn Bazylewicz, who also is an intern, called the center “a little hidden treasure of Whitewater.” She said all the interns are eager to learn as much as possible about the different cultures and diversity of the campus to assistant anyone who needs help.
They also are striving to educate others about Whitewater’s diversity by offering multiple lecture series. According to the UW-Whitewater website, the first one, the African-American lecture series, starts Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in UC 259A. Linda Loubert, PhD., discusses the topic “Can Environmental Justice and Economic Development Co-exist in the African American Community?” Other lecture series coordinated by the WCC are the Native Pride and the Southeast Asian Heritage lecture series.
Yang is already planning ahead and has some ideas and goals for the WCC for the future.
“Our next project is to get welcome banners that are going to be in multiple different languages and will include all of the languages of our international students,” she said. “We’re also getting a rainbow welcome sign and a Braille sign for individuals with disabilities.”