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The Minnesota Daily

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University committee introduces new website to cater campus resources and connections to varying student identities

The newly launched website is intended for students who struggle to feel like they belong on campus.

The University of Minnesota recently released a new website for students titled “Undergraduate Diversity, Community, & Belonging.” The website provides campus resources, community connections, academics, and diversity education and training.

The Multicultural Student Success Steering Committee created the website and included feedback from outside students and staff. The committee is a group of University leaders, including staff and faculty, that focus on the experiences of undergraduate students of color and American Indian students.

The purpose of this website is to provide resources for students facing challenges to find different resources across campus dedicated to serve specific identities and promote community, inclusion and student success.

“Since we have a huge campus, students, especially unrepresented students find it hard to find the best resources for them,” LeeAnn Melin, the associate vice provost for student success, said.

Melin described the website as more of a “hub” for the community or a site that connects students and provides better navigation. The idea for the website was first recommended by many undergraduate students in 2019 and was officially completed last month.

On the homepage of the website, the “Find your community” link leads to a page with different cultural centers, student groups, scholarships and academic departments, which serve specific identities.

Also on the home page, the “Academics” link is a collection of opportunities to learn about equity and diversity woven into academic support, liberal education and college resources.

For example, the academic support page lists links to resources such as tutoring at the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, free consultation at Student English Language Support, information to request accommodations with help from the Disability Resource Center and more.

Stephanie Zakhia is a first-year student majoring in chemistry.

“I feel like I both do and don’t belong on campus,” Zakhia said in an email to the Daily. “I feel very welcomed in minority/POC spaces, but I feel like the broader white student body is very dismissive and belittling. Especially in CSE.”

She added it is challenging to find the resources that can be helpful for her in the campus community and feels concerned about whether the school is doing its best in student outreach.

“I mostly ask my advisor or my friends for resources, but it is indeed difficult to find our sources ourselves,” said another student, Yubin Hwang, a first-year majoring in math.

Some students said the website is helpful, but there is still a lot the University can do to increase student outreach and resources.

“I think the school could do better with talking about diversity to its white students. For example, they always mention how they’re on stolen land, but stop there,” Zahkia said. “They don’t explain what that means and how they’re working to do better for Indigenous communities.”

The website provides a page that leads to different resources for specific student identities, including American Indian and Indigenous Students, and Black and African American Students.

“The website is still in progress, and it will continue to be a progress,” Melin said. “We hope we can provide the best student outreach, so they know that these resources are here to help them.”

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