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University offers ten separate orientations for Native Americans, black students, others

Asian, Latino students also get specialized programs

One of the largest universities in California hosts nearly a dozen alternative orientations for its students, specially tailoring the events to fit numerous ethnicities and demographics, including Asian Pacific, black and Native American individuals

The University of California, Berkeley’s website describes the 10 specialized orientations as “additional programming” that students may attend apart from the standard “Golden Bear Orientation.” Most of the offerings take place in the fall.

None of the organizations that hosts any of the orientations described in this article responded to The College Fix’s queries for comment. The Fix was specifically seeking information about the “specific” “needs” unique to each demographic, a recurring theme of the specialized orientations.

‘Black Welcome Month’

Berkeley’s Black Student Orientation “addresses the specific transitional and community needs of African American / Black students at Cal,” the school’s website states. The orientation consists of community building activities, workshops and a resource fair.

The orientation is hosted by the African American Student Development Center. Apart from the orientation itself, the center sponsors several events to welcome new African American students into the school, including “Black Welcome Month” where African American students can participate in a “Welcome Black Breakfast” and attend alumni talks, a resource fair and social events.

Asian Pacific, Chicano and Latino orientations

The university also hosts an Asian Pacific Student Orientation, an event which honors Asian American, Filipino and Pacific Islander students. Similar to the black student programs, the Asian Pacific orientation “addresses the specific transitional and community needs of Asian American, Pilipinx, and Pacific Islander students.”

The Chicanx Latinx Student Development Center likewise hosts a program called “Familia Orientation” to “address specific transitional and Community needs of the Chicanx and Latinx students” through “resource fair, community building and speakers.” The orientation was designed to help students “learn how to thrive on campus as Latinx and Chicanx students.”

Program for Native students

One of the university’s more unique orientations is the Native Student Orientation which serves Native American students. The Native American Student Development Center also has a recruitment and retention center to increase the number of native students in higher education.

That student center “exists to serve and support the diverse and changing needs of Native students in their time at Cal” and “provide relevant, accessible and engaging programs and resources, promote intertribal and cross cultural approaches to community building with a social justice lens.”

The Native American Student Development Center has a podcast called Indigenous United which highlights issues Indigenous people face and includes interviews with artists and scholars. The center has even scheduled a “Pow Wow” this coming November.

Disabled student orientation is required

The school’s website states that the university’s orientation for disabled students is “mandatory…for all incoming students with disabilities (freshmen, transfer students, graduate students) who will be connecting with [Disabled Students’ Program] services.” The orientation will teach disabled students about “campus resources, DSP accommodations, self-advocacy, talking with faculty about accommodations, your legal rights as a student with disabilities, and more.”

The orientation offers students with disabilities services such as alternative media, auxiliary services and academic accommodations.

Other orientation ceremonies hosted by the university welcome student athletes, international students, Pell Grant students and readmitted students.

The organizations hosting the orientations, meanwhile, offer their target demographics numerous other opportunities on campus. The Asian Pacific Student Center hosts the Asian Pacific Islander Issues Conference every year at Berkeley, according to the website. The conferences bring underrepresented API issues to the forefront, promote awareness about ethnic diversity, and foster community building among APIs.”

The Chicanx Latinx Center sponsors projects such as the Raza Recruitment and Retention Center, an organization which tries to “increase the enrollment of Latinx/Xicanx high school students in institutions of higher learning by sending UCB students on recruitment trips and outreaches to high schools, middle schools and community colleges,” according to the group’s website.

MORE: University hosts separate orientation for black freshmen

MORE: University offers orientation for ‘self-identified students of color’

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About the Author
Maria is a sophomore at Franciscan University of Steubenville, double majoring in political science and communication arts. She enjoys being active in her church by being a cantor and volunteers at her local hospital and soup kitchen.

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