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By Donella Lalas

Western’s Ethnic Student Center staff and club leaders put on their yearly open house Thursday, Oct. 4 to introduce themselves to the Western community.

Set up like an info fair, the event was held on the fourth floor of the Viking Union near the ESC.

One of the clubs that was represented at open house was the Middle Eastern Student Association, MESA.

MESA is a fairly new club to the school, MESA President Pardis Davari said. The club just got started during spring quarter of 2018 and they are still growing.

“We’re a club that’s focused on culture,” Davari said. “We focus on Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Persian and various Arab cultures.”

Some events they have planned for this year are a joint heritage dinner with the Arab Student Association, a Persian New Year celebration, an Armenian genocide remembrance event and a night in Lebanon event.

“I’m most excited for having the very first Persian New Year at Western because they never had one before,” Davari said.

Their first meeting of the quarter will be Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 6 p.m. in Miller Hall.

Another group that was represented at open house was Blue Group, a club that supports undocumented students on campus.

“Our whole goal is to make sure that we inform the public about educating undocumented students and we invite other undocumented people too,” Media Services Coordinator Victor Gonzalez said. “It’s welcome to everybody.”

Their plans for the year are still in the works, but their first meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. in Miller Hall, Gonzalez said.

Besides individual clubs, the ESC staff also has plans for the center as a whole. This includes updating the Know Your Rights workshop, which is intended to empower students and teach them their rights and where they stand when they encounter law enforcement. For example, not speaking when an attorney isn’t present.

“We are looking into collaborating with the Legal Information Center,” ESC Advocacy Director James Pai said. “We want to expand on the Know Your Rights workshop that they do every year.”

Pai is most excited for that event as well as ESC Lobby Day, he said. Lobby Day is an event where students go to Olympia, WA to meet legislators to talk about important policies and advocate on behalf of their organization.  He hopes there will be a strong turn out and that student activism will increase in people of color, including during Associated Students elections.

The ESC will also be doing an event, Donuts and Democracy, with the representative office on Nov. 6, the last day of midterm elections, Pai said. At 2:30 p.m., they will have a ballot box in the ESC lounge so students can fill out their ballots and submit it right there as well as get a donut.


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