This is the first in our student writer Anna’s occasional series entitled LIFE: Living Involved, Finding Engagement…
One of UMBC’s claims to fame is our diversity: staff, faculty, student body—the entire school. As a result, our student organizations reflect that diversity. Just quickly scroll down the list of orgs on the Student Life website! From the arts to sports to religion to hobbies to Greek life to intellectual sports (check out our chess team’s national rankings!)…I’m not exaggerating when I say that there’s a niche for just about anyone and everyone.
Speaking of diversity, we currently have 28 cultural and ethnic student organizations. I have yet to meet someone who claims these orgs are just for people from a specific culture; today I attended the Sri Lankan Student Association’s bimonthly meeting, for instance, and my friend from Peru is involved in the Japanese Student Association. Join an organization and learn about another culture, or even one reflecting your own culture. The point is that there are people to learn from and about—people like and unlike you. Go make friends! Meet people!
Today I did just that. My friend is the president of the Sri Lankan Student Association (SLSA) and invited me to her org’s meeting. (Please note that I am not Sri Lankan, but that doesn’t really matter!) The meeting was special: the org’s faculty advisor attended and showed pictures of her most recent travels to Sri Lanka where she has lived and conducted anthropological research. Walking into the meeting, I didn’t even know the capital of the country. Now I can assure you that it’s Colombo. I learned that their New Year is in April, and on that holiday boiling milk in a clay pot is a common practice to bring good luck. Who knew? Hint: not me, the white girl. But the great thing is, now I do know!
Throughout the semester I will be writing a special blog series highlighting various student orgs. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to attend other meetings or events, but I definitely will be sitting down with other students to get their first-hand accounts of what their orgs are all about. Tomorrow I get the opportunity to sit down with Samantha, the president of SLSA. So keep an eye out! From what I heard today, she’s in the midst of planning a multi-cultural, multi-org event that I will absolutely be talking about in a future blog!