Students connect through affinity groups

The multicultural room, located next to the commons on the first floor of Lincoln, bustles with activity as members of the Asian Student Union get to know each other every Monday. Their mission statement confirms that the union members focus on connecting with each other, which fosters a feeling of inclusion.

Student unions connect people of similar backgrounds and provide a safe space to talk about shared experiences. At Lincoln, there are six student unions and nine additional affinity groups.

Kareena Modha, co-president of the Indian Student Union (ISU), explained the importance of creating these spaces for students.

“You’re not just doing acts of service, you’re creating a beneficial social space for people in the school,” said Modha.

This year, ISU is focusing on getting funding for their events. They also hope to better understand their culture through media. They are currently planning a session for both Wellness Fair and the Black Lives Matter Week of Action.

Modha expressed how important student unions are for affirming identity and sense of self.

“Even being the Co-President, I am getting a better sense of community and culture,” said Modha. “I can learn from everybody on top of sharing my identity, which is a lot of giving and taking.”

Like ISU, many student unions are focusing on community-building and doing events to help spread school-wide awareness. The Asian Student Union (ASU) is trying to develop the community aspect of their union. ASU leaders, including junior Elise Yu, are planning experiences that they hope will make the members feel more connected.

“[Developing our community] is really big this year because we want to make sure that everyone feels more included in the club. It’s more of a big community rather than little cliques,” Yu said. “We were thinking of going on field trips or having movie nights – some kind of fun experience.”

Another leader of the ASU, Izzie Lee, also hopes to build community along with awareness.

“[We are] trying to be more collaborative, constructive, [and] raise awareness for the Asian community here at Lincoln,”said Lee.

Another group, Native American Student Union (NASU), has been working on school-wide recognition.

“One of our big goals is to have a more school-wide awareness, like Native American History Month and Native American acknowledgement day,” co-leader Kennedy Farley said.

Bodhi Reed, the other co-leader of NASU, reflects on the difference between being online and being in-person.

“I think it allows us to have a more personal connection with each individual student,” Reed said. “A lot of Native activities are based on spirit and energy, so it is important to be in the same room together to feel that energy.”