Wherever you go to college, you deserve to be yourself. Everyone has a right to equality and respect, and no one should feel marginalized or unsafe in their surroundings. Period. That’s why the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is fully committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment.
Truly, UIUC is diverse in every sense of the word. When it comes to race and ethnicity, we’re 2nd among all top-ranked Midwest universities, and we have the most students of color (NCES). Geographically, our students represent all 50 U.S. states and 123 countries, and we host the 6th largest community of international students in the U.S. (Open Doors). Oh, and did we mention the fact that we’re also home to the oldest post-secondary disability support program in the entire world?
But diversity is only part of the equation; the other all-important half is inclusion. Here at UIUC, we proudly welcome everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from. Our campus provides a space in which all students can succeed on their terms, and today, we’re sharing some of the many resources we’ll provide to help you along the way.
Since education is a key part of the college experience, that’s where we’ll begin. UIUC offers academic assistance to its students in many forms. One such resource is the Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA). This office provides exceptional mentoring and academic support services to first-generation, low-income, and historically underrepresented students.
OMSA can help you adjust to the rigor of university life while building collegiate success from the start. Their advising and mentoring services include one-on-one, scheduled, and drop-in sessions. They’re always available to answer your questions, help monitor your academic progress, and ensure you’re on a path to success at UIUC.
Bottom line: OMSA is an amazing resource, and we encourage students to reach out to them as soon as they get to campus. Trust, us, you won’t regret it!
Our cultural centers work to provide open, safe, and inclusive spaces for our students. They also offer opportunities to network and build support systems on campus. Following is a glimpse into each of our four centers and what they can offer you.
Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center (BNAACC)
BNAACC provides programs and support services to promote the individual, social, cultural, and academic well-being of African American students on campus. The center recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in a brand new building. It hosts a number of events each year, including Food for the Soul, a Black Congratulatory Ceremony for graduating students, and programs for Black History Month.
La Casa Cultural Latina (La Casa)
La Casa promotes the success and empowerment of Latinx students through educational, cultural, sociopolitical, and social programs. These programs include a month-long series of events for Hispanic Heritage Month, a bilingual Latinx Congratulatory Ceremony for graduating students, and a Día de Los Muertos celebration, among others.
Native American House (NAH)
Native students from a variety of backgrounds can enrich their cultural and academic experiences through programs at NAH. This cultural house offers peer mentoring and counseling and hosts yearly events. Some examples include Native Student Orientation for new students and a Native American House Congratulatory Ceremony for graduating students.
Asian American Cultural Center (AACC)
AACC addresses the needs and interests of Asian American students on campus and promotes appreciation and understanding of Asian American experiences. It hosts events for anyone interested in learning about Asian American cultures and celebrates holidays like Diwali, Lunar New Year, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Salaam Middle East and North Africa Cultural Center
A brand new cultural house at UIUC, Salaam Middle East and North Africa Cultural Center provides an opportunity to increase awareness, understanding, and appreciation of Middle East and North African culture. The center offers students a place to relax, hold meetings and guests, and build a community on campus.
Resource Centers & Services
A variety of resource centers and services exist at UIUC to assist students with specific needs. We’re highlighting four (among many) with missions that directly pertain to diversity and inclusion.
Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC)
The GSRC fosters an open, safe, and inclusive environment for people of all sexualities and gender identities. It helps to address homophobia and transphobia and works to make campus safe, affirming, and inclusive for all students. The Gender & Sexuality Resource Center is also open to anyone who is interested in learning about LGBTQIA+ people, issues, and concerns.
Women’s Resources Center (WRC)
The WRC supports and connects womxn students both personally and professionally through programs, workshops, networking events, and mentorship. They advocate for greater equity, retention, advancement, and empowerment of womxn on campus. They also provide confidential advising for those who have experienced sexual misconduct.
Disability Resources & Educational Services (DRES)
DRES ensures that individuals with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from campus programs, services, and activities. The oldest post-secondary disability support program in the world, DRES is associated with many innovations, including the first accessible university residence halls and the first wheelchair-accessible fixed-route bus system.
International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS)
ISSS offers immigration services, one-on-one advising, and resources to help international students navigate life on campus. In addition, they provide educational, cultural, and social programs to enrich students’ UIUC experience.
We’ll end our list of resources with a slice of campus life and the cultural opportunities that exist within it. Specifically, UIUC offers a variety of student groups (called Registered Student Organizations, or RSOs) related to culture and diversity. The best part? You can explore them all before arriving on campus.
Gain opportunities for professional development and networking through the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). Help incoming Chinese students adapt to college life through the Chinese Union. Promote awareness of Deaf culture through the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club. The list goes on!
Whatever you’re looking for, our students have likely established an RSO for it. But even if they haven’t, you can always start your own group, too.
Diversity and inclusion is a continuous commitment at UIUC, and these are only a handful of the many resources devoted to the cause. To learn about additional support services on campus, you can also visit the Diversity and Support pages on our website.