Advocacy Accepts Everyone

Aug 172005
Authors: Kristen Majors

There's a common myth around campus that the seven CSU advocacy programs benefit only the specific populations they are named after. But according to Executive Director Jennifer Molock , that assumption is not true.

"The offices are here to provide retention, primarily for students of those specific populations, but also to serve as an educational outlet for all students," Molock said . "The offices are really available for the entire campus community."

The purpose of the offices is to advocate and speak for their own population and to educate the rest of the campus about diversity, according to Randy McCrillis, Director of Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Services, or GLBT.

They do this by providing various services to their population and providing educational opportunities, such as libraries and outreach programs, for other students.

"We offer education, advocacy and support services, not just for GLBT students, but for all students," McCrillis said. "So anybody wanting information: what it means to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender or a person of color or a person with a disability. We offer those services and then we offer specific advocacy services for our own population."

Molock said the programs also provide a haven for their specific populations, surrounding them with students and staff of their own cultural background and therefore making the transition from home to college life easier.

"Asian or Pacific Islander students have a different cultural background than Caucasian students," said Alice Campbell, a senior zoology major and employee at the Asian Pacific American Student Services program. "Their family values are different and things they do are a lot different. They can find people at this office that have the same cultural background and they can share things."

The programs also plan social events for their students, as well as community service projects to benefit the CSU and Fort Collins communities. The offices' doors are open to all students; no sign-up or fee is required.

Molock estimates that thousands of students use the offices on a regular basis and said that any student could use every program.

"Maybe it's a woman who might use Women's Programs and Studies, but she might also be a student with disabilities," she said. "She might be multiethnic or multiracial; she might be GLBT. So literally one student could use every service."

The first of the programs was formed in 1968 under the title of Project GO, standing for Generating Opportunities, Molock said. The program focused on recruiting African-American, Black and Hispanic students to the University.

In 1976, Black Student Services and El Centro Student Services emerged from Project GO, and Women's Programs and Studies and Resources for Disabled Students came around within the next two years. The most recent addition is Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Student Services, which became one of the seven in 1997, Molock said.

Funding is different for each office, and none involve student fees. Each program is funded by state funds, private funds or donations and is free for students.

"I encourage all students to visit the offices and to look for programs and activities that the offices have going on," Molock said . "To really learn more about people and places that are different than themselves, and really make their educational experience a good one and embrace diversity.

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