Accepted Presentations

Breakout Session 1 (Monday, September 24, 10:45 a.m. to Noon)

“Assessment of African American and Latinx Experience in University Housing”
Marlene Smith and Nicholas Jones
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Housing

The presentations hopes to provide an insight on the struggles and positives of Latino and Black students experience by living in University Housing. We hope that other departments look at the experiences of marginalized students' in their offices/departments. Lastly, provide recommendations that University Housing is currently implementing to better support our Black and Latino students.

“Considerations for Working with International Students in the Current Political Climate”
Nupur Sahai, Yuri Choi, Tzu-An Hu, and Felicia Li
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Counseling Center

The current political climate has significantly impacted international students. Unpredictable changes in the larger policies, combined with increasing hostility and more overt forms of discrimination towards international students, has impacted their mental health. Counseling Centers serve a unique role in providing clinical and outreach services that support international students in the current political climate. This presentation will discuss the challenges experienced by international students in the current political climate. Further, the presentation will provide a culturally-sensitive counseling framework for working with international students. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the international student population comprises approximately 25% of the student body. The international student outreach team at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign aims to address the mental health needs of international students on campus. The international student outreach team will present the outreach philosophy implemented by the team in various programming services. Based on our clinical work and outreach services, the presenters will discuss a culturally-sensitive framework for working with international students. The presenters will discuss examples of strategies in building relationships with campus partners and student organizations, and clinical and outreach services aimed at improving mental health and reducing distress experienced by international students in current political climate. The presenters will share their own self-reflections as international practitioners and the impact of the current political climate on their lived experience. The presentation will provide space for participants to engage in self-reflexivity about their work and how they can enhance the services provided to international students.

“Latina/o/x Student Belonging at UIUC in the Midst of Past and Present Political Times”
Alicia Rodriguez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Latina/o Studies
Betoel Escobar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office of Minority Studies
Gioconda Guerra Perez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity
Jorge Mena Robles, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign La Casa Cultural Latina

Advocating, supporting, and empowering students of color comes with its own particular needs and challenges. As we focus on Latina/o/x students in a PWI, institutional barriers impact the way that student is able to navigate their undergraduate experience. Through our work as Latina/o/x academic advisors, staff in minority student affairs and cultural centers, and administrators we bring a holistic view of how the current political climate can (negatively) affect our students. Moreover, it is our understanding that a student’s social and cultural background directly impacts their academic success. While dealing with imposter syndrome, financial deficits, and mental health barriers, among other challenges, it is crucial that we have culturally appropriate responses to their marginalization and trauma that is ongoing – before and after the current “political climate.”


Breakout Session 2 (Monday, September 24, 3-4:15 p.m.)

“Supporting Student Leaders and Activists in Today’s Political Climate”
Emily Barnum and Jeffrey Graham
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Counseling Center

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  has a longstanding Counseling Center Paraprofessional Program. With 40 years of history, the program complements the clinical efforts of Counseling Center staff by extending outreach and prevention efforts into the student community. The purpose of this presentation is to address working with student activists and leaders during the current political climate. Addressing such issues as the Native American imagery, changes in the DACA program, changes and threats of changes in LGBTQ legal rights under current administration, as well as campus climate related to the current political environment. By connecting these events to student mental health, student activists and leaders can understand the profound impact these events have on their peers and other students across campus. This presentation will use theoretical and empirical support to provide insight into efficacy of peer advocacy and peer education.

“Taking Space with Story”
Lisa Fay
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Counseling Center

"We know of course there's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard." Arundhati Roy, 2004 Sydney Peace Prize Lecture

In this participatory workshop we will gather in order to tell stories and to listen to stories through learning to work with several ethnographic and auto-ethnographic community engagement and story telling techniques. Developed by Lisa Fay and used within the Counseling Center’s INNER VOICES Social Issues Theatre program as part of our devising process for community-based, student driven theatre, these ways of drawing out, hearing and holding story are key to the particular experiential learning necessary to create healthy and vibrant communities. It is an utterly different thing to have one’s story heard by an entire community or shared only to the listening ear of the confided in other. Returning to reflect on this difference will be an ongoing theme of the workshop, guiding our sensibilities as therapists, cultural workers, social workers and student affairs practitioners in dialogue with one another and in service to our students and our communities. Come prepared to participate. "And you so desperately wonder If she had survived would she have told this story- And all these years later you still aren’t quite sure some times— Alone with the person that has been taken from you- When do you speak? And so I tell this story- Wanting people to know that… That I tell this story and use the word You Knowing how a simple shift could have made this your story. Wanting you to know that at some point her story was connected to my story, that my story is so easily your story That somehow we need to know that these are our collective stories-" From "Arranging Flowers" Written by Lisa Fay Performed by INNER VOICES Social Issues Theatre