Campus News

UGA offers variety of organizations, programs to foster diversity, inclusion

Last year's International Street Festival drew more than 5

Several organizations, programs and people across campus help make UGA a national leader in fostering diversity and inclusion. Below are just a few.

The Black Male Leadership Society
The recently revitalized Black Male Leadership Society is using its momentum to foster the academic, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of black male students and alumni.

The society was named UGA’s Organization of the Year for the 2014-2015 academic year during the 14th annual H. Gordon and Francis S. Davis Student Organization Achievement and Recognition Awards.

A student organization within the Division of Student Affairs, BMLS works closely with the President’s Office and the Office of Institutional Diversity to recruit black male scholars, conduct forums, sponsor clothing drives and host numerous events, including a fall retreat and a spring semiformal awards banquet.

“I have found a family that I can impact the campus and community through,” BMLS President Shallum Atkinson said. “They say you can’t make a small campus bigger, but you can make a big campus smaller—BMLS does that for me, and I am forever grateful.”

BMLS is one of 13 organizations advised under the Office of Multicultural Services and Programs, including the Hispanic Student Association, the Asian American Student Association, the Pamoja Dance Company and the Indian Cultural Exchange, among others.

Student Veterans Resource Center
Serving the students who served this country is the mission of the Student Veterans Resource Center.

The center offers wide-ranging support to and advocacy for student veterans and is the go-to location for wayfinding and entry into an array of university, community, state and federal services.

“It has boosted my engagement level by connecting me with other student veterans and faculty and staff who have a heart for veterans and their issues,” said Justin Sailers, a senior majoring in finance and president of the UGA Student Veterans Association.

This year, the center is piloting a new Black Belt Certificate Program, which focuses on easing transition and facilitating career readiness.

“The program is designed to encourage student veterans to engage in experiential learning opportunities-mentoring, internships, study abroad, leadership-to enhance their learning and position them for success after graduation,” said Ted Barco, director of the Student Veterans Resource Center.

Established in 2013, the center is open to all student veterans enrolled at UGA and also provides a relaxation and study lounge. It is located in Room 481 of the Tate Student Center and is open 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. fall and spring semester.

International Student Life
The aroma of coffee and cuisine from across the globe beckons people to the Memorial Hall Ballroom every Friday, drawing students, faculty, staff and community members to share cultures.

International Coffee Hour, a gathering held weekly for more than 40 years, International Street Festival and ethnic nights are some of the many events brought to campus through International Student Life.

Last year’s street fest in April drew more than 5,000 attendees to College Avenue in downtown Athens, where student organizations sponsored interactive cultural displays as well as musical and dance performances. UGA Food Services contributed an array of ethnic food options to expand the free cultural experience for visitors.

“Not many institutions have a department dedicated to working with international students to support them while also working with domestic students to engage them in order to internationalize the campus experience,” said Justin Jeffery, director of International Student Life.

International Student Life advises approximately 20 international and multinational student organizations that promote the core values of advocacy, building community and cultural exploration.

The Foot Soldier Project
Many important fighters in the civil rights movement are unknown, but the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies and Research ensures that their stories are told and their impact is not forgotten.

The project aims to advance civil rights scholarship and discourse on diversity by chronicling the lives and stories of the less-familiar “foot soldiers for equal justice.”

“The Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies is an interdisciplinary program that partners with the Russell Library to focus on research and outreach related to civil rights and social justice issues,” said Maurice Daniels, dean and professor of the School of Social Work, who is the founder and director of the project. “Its activities include documentary film production, manuscripts and volumes, archival preservation and community outreach programs.”

He added that Foot Soldier Project research has contributed to the production of a number of public television documentaries including the film Hamilton E. Holmes: The Legacy Continues and publication of manuscripts as well as the recent book Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. ­Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights.

For more information, see

LGBT Resource Center
Cozy couches, bright colors and welcoming faces fill the rooms of the LGBT Resource Center, which creates an environment of advocacy, education and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, ally and advocate-identified students.

“I come here more for the comfort and the safe space,” said Jose Carrillo, a sophomore majoring in chemistry and ambassador to the LGBT Resource Center. “When you’re here you’re not judged, and you know you’ll be accepted.”

The LGBT Resource Center, established in 2005, is one of few centers of its kind in the South and is visited by an average of 30 students per day.

It consists of a student lounge, conference room and reception area that houses a library of more than 1,000 books, a collection of current magazines, a DVD library of both entertaining and educational films, several varieties of organizational and education pamphlets and sexual health resources.

A variety of programs and services provide increased awareness and foster understanding of issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Some of the center’s signature events include Dawgs Making it Better, Celebration of National Coming Out Day, a LGBT History Month Display, Transgender Day of Remembrance and Lavender Graduation. The LGBT Resource Center is located in Room 221 of Memorial Hall.