Since 1991, the Ethnic Student Center has served as the home away from home for historically underrepresented students and allies on Western’s campus. Founded by student activism in the late 1980s, the ESC began with five clubs, and in the 20 years since, the ESC housed 20 different clubs, 13 of which are currently active and engaged in the Western community. Throughout the years, the ESC has established itself as a strong and open community for every student at the university.
The ESC was founded with three core values—affirming identity, building community and cultivating leadership. Priding itself on these values, the ESC has taken major strides to provide a welcoming community and environment for any student who walks through the door to Viking Union 420.
The ESC, however, would not exist without student engagement. Members of the ESC are bonded by a strong sense of unity both on inter-club and inter-personal levels, while there are over one hundred students in the ESC, they are all united within it. This sentiment sparked the idea for this year’s 22nd annual ESC Conference theme, “Out of one, many.”
Each year the ESC takes 150 students to a weekend conference, hosted at Camp Casey on Whidbey Island. The October conference provides opportunities for students to learn more about the ESC and resources available to them on campus, though many student attend to meet new friends and bond with old ones.
By participating in ESC clubs, students become a part of something bigger than themselves; they become part of a family. Although there are 13 active clubs that students can join, we are all united by our ESC pride.
Located on the 4th floor of the Viking Union, the ESC has many resources to provide students within its office. The lounge and computer lab within the office provide a great place to socialize and study. Many students visit the center on a daily basis in order to relax, study and pass the time with friends.
This year there will be an even stronger push on academics with academic advising, study space and academic-focused programming.
In addition, the ESC staff focuses on creative event programming, collaborating with other AS departments and re-establishing an identity on campus as a “home away from home” for everyone.
The ESC is passionate about celebrating diversity and encourages anyone and everyone to come by and participate.