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Photo illustration by Lane Burdette/Staff Photographer

Diverse student organizations plan for year ahead

MU organizations have new programs and outreach events on deck.

By Alexandra Sharp | Aug. 30, 2017

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MU organizations across campus have set new semester goals, implementing programs to help the student community.

One such organization is Mizzou Alternative Breaks, an organization that sends students on service trips across the country and world. According to Lillie Heigl, student director of marketing for the spring season, MAB hopes to enrich its members with new programs and high-quality trips.

“We believe in using service and impactful relationships to create active and united citizens on our campus,” Heigl said. “A few cool things about MAB is we’re the largest alternative breaks program in the country, which we’re really proud of because it means that Mizzou has more students than any other college campus that are passionate about service and passionate about creating a better community here in Missouri and around the country.”

MAB is working on implementing numerous programs throughout the semester, including MAB Ambassadors, which are student leaders who promote the club by speaking in classes and at organization fairs, and 2020 Vision. According to Heigl, 2020 Vision is a returning weekend program that hopes to continue its goal of serving all 114 counties in the state of Missouri by the year 2020.

“We’ve made a lot of progress in that, and we’re kind of on target to hopefully reach that goal,” Heigl said. “So we’re excited to make further progress in that goal this semester as each year, students go to other counties we haven’t hit yet.”

Although smaller in size, the Jewish Student Organization plans events that connect various students on campus within one community; JSO is open to all students, not solely students of Jewish faith. According to JSO President Lauren Ashenfarb, some activities to look out for include a JSO campfire, gaga game (an Israeli dodgeball game), tailgating party, Hanukkah event and various joint programs with Mizzou Hillel, the Jewish campus center.

Not only does JSO wish to make a large campus feel like a small, tight-knit community, but it hopes to implement major goals this fall. One goal is to address the rise in nationwide anti-semitism by speaking in residence halls. According to Ashenfarb, dorms can request JSO to come and educate them on how to react to and address anti-semitism, especially in the aftermath of events like Charlottesville.

“I guess just with the rise of anti-semitism, we are always prepared to face what’s coming,” Ashenfarb said. “You know, [...] the political climate’s changing. That’s one thing we are always aware of.”

Another new goal JSO is working toward is establishing Mizzou Jewish Greeks, JSO representatives in each of the sorority and fraternity houses. According to Ashenfarb, this will aid Jewish students involved in Greek Life by making certain JSO topics are not forgotten in the midst of planning Greek events.

“In the past years, a lot of the Greek events have been on Jewish holidays, like, I believe last year, the blood drive fell on Yom Kippur,” Ashenfarb said. “And so, we’re trying to find a Greek representative from each house to advocate for JSO and not necessarily promote our events, but [...] just have a voice within the Greek community.”

Gilberto Perez, president of the Association of Latin@ American Students, hopes to form a “la familia experience,” and cultivate a powerful presence on campus. The organization is open to all students, both of Latin American descent and those interested in Latin American culture. For ALAS President Gilberto Perez this means creating a safe environment for all people, especially those who identify as Latinx, the gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina.

“So what ALAS is for is [sic] mostly to build a community within campus so people who define themselves of Latino, Latina, Latinx are able to feel welcomed in this university and be able to stay in touch with their culture,” Perez said. “And the plan is to be able to educate them on the different identities that revolve around campus, not just Latino/Latina but also the Latinx community.”

To achieve this goal, ALAS is planning the first-ever Latinx Leadership Retreat. This overnight event will take place from Sept. 22-23 in the Multicultural Center, according to Perez.

“Being able to build leaders through [the Latinx Leadership Retreat] so people can, you know, go against social inequalities that happen throughout campus,” Perez said.

Edited by Brooke Collier | bcollier@themaneater.com

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