Last year, UC Davis hosted the Student of Color Conference (SOCC) The year, an expected 120-student delegation from UC Davis is being sent to UC Riverside, where the 2012 conference event is taking place Nov. 9 to 11.
SOCC is an annual event put on by the University of California Student Association (UCSA) in which students of color and allies can participate in workshops, open forums and lectures about the various issues which people of color face. SOCC is UCSA’s largest and longest-running conference, and takes place at a different UC campus each year over the course of three days.
The main objective of SOCC is to promote a sense of leadership in participants in hopes of creating a community of people who want to encourage progression of students of color in the future.
This year’s theme is “R’Stories: Embracing our Struggles as Tools for Transformation.” The theme focuses on the idea that all students have their own identities and that they must acknowledge the struggle that people of past generations have gone through. Open dialogue and discussion about race and racial issues are intended to serve as a catalyst for change, empowering attendees to create more opportunities for the next generation.
Each student from UC Davis who wanted to attend the event had to submit an application, and although there is only enough space to send 120 students, preference is usually shown for people who have never attended the event.
“Since it’s at the beginning of the year, it’s a space where students can learn early on that they can be active, involved members of the campus in whichever way they choose,” said Emmanuel Diaz-Ordaz, Ethnic and Cultural Affairs commissioner and former ASUCD senator.
At last week’s Senate meeting, Diaz-Ordaz presented Senate Bill 14, a bill he authored to allocate funds to register and send students to the event. The bill went briefly into the history of the conference and called for a $2,000 allocation of funds from Senate Reserves to Aggies of Color to help alleviate costs of transportation and housing for the conference.
Though the bill eventually passed in the Senate, it was not without some hesitation. Diaz-Ordaz explained that sometimes when bills have the words “ethnic,” “culture” or “race,” people have a tendency to become slightly wary.
“I feel that the day that ASUCD stops giving Student of Color Conference money is the day that they sever their support for students of color. Through money is how ASUCD shows its support and shows these types of events have merit. I never want to see the day where ASUCD doesn’t have to fund SOCC,” he said.
Kriti Garg, ASUCD Ethnic and Cultural Affairs commissioner, added that there are many students who are requesting fee waivers.
“We’re providing fee waivers to about a fourth of our delegation, because of financial concerns. This is another reason why funding is really important,” she said.
The three-day conference serves as a networking opportunity, a chance to be able to find others who relate to your issues as a student of color, and is a learning opportunity for those involved.
“There’s a lot of education that happens among ourselves that we are not able to access normally in the University … We educate ourselves because clearly the media and other mainstream places won’t teach it for us,” said Jaki Joanino, ASUCD Ethnic and Cultural Affairs commissioner.
An important aspect of the event is that it is not only for students of color, but also allies who support the issues that their peers are going through.
For more information on the conference visit ucsa.org.
SASHA COTTERELL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.