Amidst the global pandemic, as students quarantine and UConn classes remain online, many on-campus organizations have transitioned to running through online platforms. UConn’s cultural centers are among these organizations continuing to support students through a variety of virtual methods.
“I think we’re all making the best of it,” Asian American Cultural Center (AsACC) Director Angela Rola explained. “It really has tapped into our creativity and we just want to make sure that everybody knows that even though we can’t be in-person, we’re still going to do our best to finish the semester as we had intended it to be if we were all on campus.”
The cultural centers released a letter to the student body addressing how the pandemic has impacted many members of the UConn community. The letter addressed issues such as anti-Asian racism, mental health and abuse. The letter offered several links to resources that are available for students who may be struggling.
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It has come to the attention of UConn USG that there have been racist incidents and sentiments toward the Asian and Asian American communities not only at UConn – Storrs, but around the world. This is not only unacceptable, but also disappointing when we need to spread love and peace to get through this difficult time. We have created this design to show that although we may be socially distancing, we are still unified as a community. We have used the logo colors of UConn's Asian American Cultural Center to express solidarity for those facing racist incidents during this time. Please show your support by making this design your Instagram logo. We need to build support for one another, so that we can come out of this pandemic stronger as a community, more peaceful, and ready for another semester.
“We would like you all to know that you do not need to navigate these difficult times alone and that we will stand and work with you to get through this together,” the letter read. “You all are citizens of UConn Nation, and in this nation, we do not discriminate, we do not use a narrative of hate, we are citizens that stand in solidarity with one another. Now is the time for us to be safe, be compassionate and empathetic towards each other, particularly those who have been affected by the COVID-19 virus, and be engaged citizens.”
Many of the centers are offering virtual office hours with staff members, either through video conferencing sites like Zoom or via email. These office hours provide students with an opportunity to connect with others and discuss any anxieties or concerns they may have during this time. Links and hours may be found at the individual center’s websites.
While in-person events have been cancelled, the centers have adapted to providing as many services as possible virtually.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the Women’s Center is still providing ways for students to raise awareness and offer support to victims. April 29 is Denim Day, and the Violence Against Women Prevention Program (VAWPP) will be asking the Women’s Center Instagram followers to post pictures of themselves wearing denim on their stories and to tag the Women’s Center. “Denim Day is an event where folks are encouraged to wear denim apparel to support survivors and raise awareness about sexual assault,” Women’s Center Director Kathy Fischer said in an email.
VAWPP will also be hosting Coffeehouse 2020 online on April 30, which is a virtual speak out through WebX. Fischer described the event as “an evening of empowerment and healing for survivors of gender-based violence.”
Resources are available to anyone who may need support regarding domestic abuse or sexual assault at https://womenscenter.uconn.edu/covid-19-resources/.
National Heritage Month is recognized by AsACC in April, and the center is continuing to celebrate through social media. Through their Instagram, AsACC is recognizing different notable Asian and Asian-American people, including some of those who were going to present at UConn during the month, as well as offering notes and facts about different Asian cultures.
AMP, AsACC’s Asian and Asian-American Mentoring Program, has transitioned to running online. They recently hosted a retreat for new mentors through Zoom where they were able to participate in small-group discussions with some of their professional staff members.
The Rainbow Center, which usually provides HIV/HepC testing for students, has worked to find alternate at-home testing options for students. Through Perception Programs, students may request an at-home test be sent to their home address free of charge.
The centers are also working to celebrate and recognize seniors virtually. The African American Cultural Center (AACC) has posted a form online for seniors to submit information to participate in a senior spotlight newsletter. AsACC is similarly recognizing seniors online through Instagram.
“We’ve made the best effort we can to keep connected with our community,” Rola said.
More information on how the cultural centers will continue to serve students during this unprecedented time may be found at https://aacc.uconn.edu/, https://asacc.uconn.edu/, https://latinx.uconn.edu/, https://rainbowcenter.uconn.edu/ and https://womenscenter.uconn.edu/.
Thumbnail Image via @uconn_asacc
Melissa Scrivani is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.