ESC's Public Relations Coordinator Robel Paguio shares a laugh in his new office with AS employees Saraswati Noel and Geri Massengale.

"RUN"ing the Ethnic Student Center

Guest column

Since 1991, the Ethnic Student Center has served as the home away from home for historically underrepresented students. Founded by student activism in the late ‘80s, the ESC began with five core clubs. In the past 20 years, the organization has grown to include 20 unique clubs, 13 of which are currently active.

The ESC is based on three core values — affirming identity, building community and cultivating leadership. Priding itself on these values, the ESC has taken major strides in providing a safe, welcoming community and environment for any student who walks through the door.

The ESC would not exist without student engagement, which is the basis of the ESC’s theme this year, “aRe yoU eNgaged?” (RUN ESC). By participating in ESC clubs, students take active roles on campus. Many students take on leadership positions within the clubs, serve on various committees and coordinate events for the Western and the greater Bellingham community. Giving students opportunities to become leaders at Western has been an ongoing goal for the organization since its opening.

Having reached its 20th anniversary, the ESC is reopening its main location on the fourth floor of the Viking Union in room 420. The past summer has been spent restructuring its main lounge and offices to accommodate students looking for a place to do homework, hang out between classes and find virtually everything a student would need from a “student center.”

With this repurposed space, the ESC is shooting high with its goals for the year. Its staff will be focusing on providing a safe community and environment and staying true to the core values. In addition, we want to focus on creative event programming, collaborating with other Associated Students 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, get involved and become a part of the family.