The University of San Diego hosts its twice-a-year Alcalá Bazaar as a chance for students to learn about a plethora of organizations, clubs, causes, activities and programs, to provide an impetus to get involved and enhance their educational experience.
Among the 150-plus tables and throngs of curious students who attended the spring bazaar Thursday in the Hahn University Center’s Forum rooms were these opportunities:
• Colleges Against Cancer (CAC): This on-campus student organization is dedicated to supporting cancer survivors, raising money and awareness for cancer research and publicizing USD’s Relay for Life event taking place March 30-31, from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. at USD’s Valley Field. The 2012 event is being called “iRelay for Life,” inspired by late Apple co-founder/entrepreneur Steve Jobs, said San Diego Relay for Life Event Manager Bernard Mauricia. “We’re going to set up the field like an iPad and every group is going to represent an app. We’re going to do video snippets of participants talking about the family members they’re there to represent.” Lani Ceteno, a junior biochemistry major and CAC board member, hopes to have 50 teams and the goal is to raise a total of $50,000 in this year’s American Cancer Society-sponsored event.
• Women in Politics and Public Policy: This is a new entity that wants to provide support for young women interested in political careers and shaping public policy. A successful alumni event last fall served as a kickoff event for this non-partisan organization, Cathy Wineinger, a senior political science major, said. “We want to inspire all USD women who are interested in politics and motivate them to participate.”
• Greek Life organizations: About 25 percent of all undergraduates at USD are members of a Greek Life chapter. Spring recruitment week at USD is Feb. 13-17. While each table representing a USD fraternity or sorority was at the Alcalá Bazaar to espouse loyalty to their brethren, touting important philanthropy goals and more, Thursday’s event was a chance for newcomer Sigma Theta Psi, USD’s first multicultural sorority chapter, to build awareness. Renee Quihuis-Romero, a senior Spanish major, is Sigma Theta Psi’s social chair and community service chair. She’s hopeful of attracting new students who share a common vision of “celebrating differences,” thus strengthening the holistic educational experience at USD.
• International Center: The deadline for Summer 2012 study abroad opportunities is Wednesday, Feb. 15. USD, which was ranked No. 1 in undergraduate study abroad participation in a recent study, isn’t satisfied. The office is expanding its destination choices, there’s a peer advisor available Tuesdays from 12:30-2 p.m. in Serra Hall 318 to answer questions, and there’s a Feb. 25 conference that USD students who have gone abroad, called Lessons from Abroad: A Study Abroad Returnee Conference and to be held at UC San Diego, can learn how to use this experience going forward.
• Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS): This student group was revived last fall after a two-year hiatus to provide support to underrepresented students interested in health care careers. MAPS President Andrew Grimes, a junior transfer student majoring in Ethnic Studies, said support for the organization is growing. He hopes the USD chapter can be a strong resource for students, including mentoring programs and connecting them to others on campus and opportunities such as conferences to learn and to network with other medical professionals.
• USD International Business Club: This club, which started in August 2011, has grown quickly. “We went from zero to 50 (members) in six months,” said IBC President Colleen Temple, who said that international business is one of the fastest-growing majors in business. The idea of globalization in business is not new, but providing students with the knowledge of new career paths, networking opportunities and guest speakers are some appealing attributes for IBC. Two upcoming events are Feb. 27: “Market for Talent in Latin America,” with visiting professor Ariel Casarin, 2:30-4 p.m. UC 128; and March 13: IBC and USD Student International Business Council Joint Networking Luncheon, 12:30-2p.m., Kroc IPJ, Rooms H&I.
• TRiO McNair Scholars: This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support low-income, first-generation and underrepresented students who want to pursue graduate studies. The USD chapter, run through its Institute of College Initiatives with director Shelley Barajas-Leyva and academic coordinator Ramiro Frausto, serves 25 eligible USD students each year with the goal of increasing the attainment of PhD degrees by students from underrepresented segments of society.
— Ryan T. Blystone