UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Picture of our Sep student spotlight Amarea Witt

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

I decided to come to river falls after hearing about it from Pedro Renta who was a part of Admissions at the time. I did a tour with my AVID class and really enjoyed the small classes, and over all small campus. The biggest seller was its location from home, which is only a half an hour away.

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved? 

I have been involved since the day I learned how to walk. After being super active in extracurriculars in high school, I knew I wanted to also be involved in college. College is truly what you make it, and being involved, making friends, and networking has positively impacted my college experience. Since freshmen year, I have been a desk assistant, chair of my residential hall council, residence hall association, national residence hall honorary, a resident assistant, an aspire mentor, a sorority ( Alpha Sigma Alpha), Black Student Union, and a Chancellor Student Ambassador.

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

The thing I like the most about being a student at UWRF is all the connections I have made. There is not a single day I walk across campus without being greeted with smiling faces. I can go into any building and see someone I know. Speak to any professor for help. The Center of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging has sealed the deal and made UWRF my home away from home. Being a student of color has its own challenges, but I always feel supported, and know I have trusted adults I can go to when I need help. Overall, I have made genuine and meaningful connections that will last me a life time.

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation I plan to attend medical school in hopes to pursue my dreams at being an OB/GYN specialized in Maternal and Fetal Medicine.

What advice would you give current students?

DON’T RUSH! Everyone has their own timeline. Don’t feel you need to be like the next student and graduate in 4 years. Take your time. Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to not know what you want right away, and change your major as many times as you need. Take mental breaks, breathe, sleep, and start over the next day. You will accomplish your goals.

What advice or suggestions would you give to future students?

For future students, just know that school is what you make it. If you view school and think its all parties, then don’t come. School is not play hard, work later. There will come a time when you will have fun, but you also need to work hard. It starts from the beginning.

Events & Programs

Student Spotlight

Spring 2019

This is a photo of the February 2019 Student Spotlight, Sonia Jibicho. Sonia is a senior studying Communication Studies from Coon Rapids, MN. She uses She/Her/Hers pronouns. Sonia is outside wearing her Student Involvement River Falls jacket.

Sonia Jibicho

February Student Spotlight: Sonia Jibicho. Senior studying Communication Studies from Coon Rapids, MN. She/Her/Hers pronouns. 
 

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "To be honest, I don't have a legit answer for why I wanted to come to River Falls. When I was looking for school, I picked here because it was a small school and cheap. Also, it was not that far away from home which is good."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "When I first got here at UWRF, I was part of Hall Council in my dorm in Grimm. My sophomore year, I was a tour guide in admissions also, I was a resident assistant in Ames Suite. My junior year, I was an Aspire Mentor and still was a tour guide. Now I am a studnet involvement intern for event team."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "The reason why I like being a student here at UWRF is it's a small school where everyone knows each other by name and also your teacher knows your name and is willing to help you with your assignment. The advantage of going to a small school. What I like about being a part of CDIB is it is a good program."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "My plan for after college is hopefully go into teaching for student affair because with the experience I have and what I am doing in college right now is helping me prepare for my future career."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "My advice to current students is learn how to manage your time wisely because there are things that will distract you. Learn how to separate your school life and social becasue it can help you be successful in the long run."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "Future students, college is not like you see it on TV. Trust me when I say it is not the same. It's different. It's okay to struggle. The main thing is reaching out to the right people to help you with your struggle. College is all about going through the obstacle and struggling and coming out of it with a positive thought to be successful in the future. Remeber."

March 2019 Student Spotlight: Gi Morello, a sophomore studying Computer Science from Hurley WI. Pronouns: He/Him/His. Gi is wearing a black jacket and glasses and is sitting in front of a window.

Gi Morello

March Student Spotlight: Gi Morello. Sophomore studying Computer Sceince from Hurley, WI. He/Him/His pronouns. 
 

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "I chose to come to River Falls because I had wanted to go to a UW school, and this one is close to the Twin Cities which I love! It's also more affordable for me than other UW schools, and I found I loved the campus and its atmosphere when I toured!"

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I've been involved in a number of things, including the Honor's Program, Gender Inclusive Living Learning Community, and the Aspire Program through the Center of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging! I decided to get involved with the Honor's Program to meet new friends and to motivate me to keep my grades up. I live in the Gender Inclusive Community in Johnson Hall, and I have been for the past 2 years. It's such an amazing community and a safe space for LGBTQ+ people to live with gender neutral bathrooms, and I've made so many friends while living there. I am also a mentor in the Aspire Program, and I joined because I wanted to help incoming freshman adapt to the campus and college life quickly while also having a friend to talk to if they ever need someone."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "I like not only feeling productive by being a student on campus, but I like feeling like I'm a part of something greater, a giant community where my efforts are noticed and rewarded. It's the same with CDIB, I love the sense of community and friendship that they offer, and I feel welcome and accepted for who I am at UWRF."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "I don't have any specific plans set in stone right now, but I do hope to work in my field of Computer Science through programming, hopefully getting a good job somewhere near the Twin Cities area in Minnesota, as well as maybe working in the field internationally, specifically in Japan."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "My advice would be to not rush, always take your time and put honest effort into your work and your life. You'll feel better knowing you did your best and worked hard. But, along with that, make sure you balance everything and make time for yourself to learn and grow. Don't overstress or get too overwhelmed - everything will work out in the end! College is all about growing as a person, and having as many experiences as you can while meeting many new people."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "For future students, I would like to let you know that college may seem scary and confusing at first, but with the help of others you'll learn quickly and make so many new memories! Don't be afraid to try something new, or to get outside of your comfort zone, this is a safe space for exploring and figuring out your path in life, so go for it!"

Is there anything else you would like to highlight about yourself?

  • I would like to note how accepting the UWRF campus has been for me, as I am transgender and I was nervous about heading to college - but this campus has welcomed me with open arms, and has given me the courage to continue my transition and focus on my studies. I would also just like to say thank you to the CDIB office and to UWRF! I will continue to strive for the things I want in my life, and I will work hard as well as enjoy my time in college!"

April 2018 Student Spotlight - Mai See Xiong. Mai See is a 6th year student studying Communication Studies from Saint Paul, MN. Pronouns are she/her/hers. Mai See is wearing traditional Hmong clothing in this photo.

Mai See Xiong

April Student Spotlight: Mai See Xiong (pronounced My See). 6th year studying Communication Studies from Saint Paul, MN. She/Her/Hers pronouns. 
 

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "I choose River Falls specifically for the Psychology program actually! I finished my general classes back at Century College and while at Century College, my counselor (advisor) was telling me about how River Falls has a really good psychology program and only 30 minutes away from the Twin Cities. I was completely sold on it. I applied and got in and was super excited to get started on Psychology only to realize that I was terrible at Statistics and that I enjoy talking and engaging with so many people that going through with the Psychology program, I knew I wasn't going to be happy going through it even though I loved learning about it. River Falls was the only school I applied to and I was very optimistic about getting in. I didn't want to go to Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I wanted to spread my wings, learn, and grow independently while I was 21 at that time and I am very glad River Falls gave me that choice."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "a. My first year here on campus, I didn't get involved with anything just because I didn't know anyone or the campus that well. I also had the mindset of trying to finish my undergrad as fast as I can and leave without making any friendships or connections. (Crazy right?!) I had the mindset of just focusing on classes and be done. While being in college and being away from my family, that wasn't something I would recommend for anyone. I struggled. My first year here on campus, I was miserable actually. I didn't have any friends really until late March of my first Spring Semester here on campus. I remember getting the Resident Assistant position in May Hall 2nd Floor for Mid-Semester and I took the position back in December of 2016 but being new to campus, I felt I wasn't equipped or qualified for the position and with that, the week of finals, I had to give the (Complex Director) Hall Director at that time a call and tell them I wasn't taking the position.
    b. That summer after my first rough year here on campus, I took on a job in the New Student Family Program and worked as an OTL (Orientation Transition Leader) during the summer and got to know a lot of people and that was where I made friendships that I will never forget.
    c. During my 2nd year here, I became a knowledgeable Resident Assistant in Hathorn Hall where I served with my fellow peers who were so understanding and so amazing. I'd say, we had the best staff that year! I was also a Falcon Tour Guide and I made the most of my time my second year here.
    d. This school year, my 3rd year here on campus, I have been involved with the Admissions office working as a student from Recruitment and Enrolling Student Staff, National Residence Hall Honorary, Resident Assistant, and last but not least, working for Center of Diversity, Inclusion as the Social Media Graphic Intern."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "a. To be completely honest, one thing I like most about being a student here on campus is having so many opportunities here on campus to grow as an individual. I don't think I would've gotten so much experiences in a field such as Student Affairs in Higher Education ever if I was to stay back in the cities or just kept quiet in the Residence Halls. I don't think I would have grown into the person I am today with these opportunities that I have had here on campus. I love how this campus is not so small or big that I can get those opportunities that I know I cannot get anywhere else and I am very thankful for that!
    b. As for being part of CDIB, I am forever grateful for the opportunities that I get with CDIB. By being their Social Media, Graphic Design Intern, I have learned a lot, but I have been able to be more authentic than I have ever been in my life and that's always my goal in life (really is) to be real, and staying true to who I am. I love the opportunities I get by being part of CDIB, learning about the many cultures that I do not know of yet, or just understanding the needs that students need here on campus. One thing I love being part of CDIB and their intern, is telling the many prospect students about what we can offer for them such as the Aspire Program, the LGBTQ+ Community -- Gender Inclusivity Floor, what cool events we put on for students to see and many more."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "So I was actually going to go to Grad school right this Spring for Student Affairs in Higher Education, but due to the tight finance, I won't be attending grad school for a while. Instead, I'll be interning at my home church, River Valley Church and will be interning during the Summer and Fall until Spring. I am also looking at finding a part time job in AmeriCorps--College Possible is what I am looking at so I hope to get a job there!"

What advice would you give current students?

  • "There are so many!! Honestly!! For a life advice, always keep it real and be authentic. That's the key to living and being successful. If you can't do that, you're living in lies and won't be able to go far in life.  As for a academic advice, have some fun while you're in college and managing your times to study and do homework. When I say have some fun, I mean get yourself involved here on campus and meet people! I think a lot of times, many people forget how to have fun or meet new people and establish friendships because they think they're too old or they don't have time for it, or they just want to finish up with their undergrad degree and be done and call it good but honestly, you gotta live life a little by having fun while you're in school. Live life a little. Don't be like me who never got involved my first year."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "a. Advice for traditional students:
          i. Two advice that I would always give students are 1. manage your time wisely. Once you get to college as a 1st   
              year student fresh out of high school, college is nothing like High school. You get to manage your time, manage 
              your time to study, manage your time to do homework, and basically a lot of things. You're going to realize you   
              have a lot of time to do nothing, study, do homework, work...OR hang out with friends. The semester goes by     
              really fast so if you don't manage your time well that semester, you won't do so well. Make sure to use a             
              planner that will help you keep track of what you need to do.
    b. The other advice I would give is for first year students as well. Keep your syllabus and read that syllabus after that first day of class. It is so critical to know what the professors wants you to do for that class by being prepare and knowing that the syllabus will be the class schedule but it is also like a contract between you and your professor. Keep it, read it, don't lose it, and look at it every day if you think you're done with all your homework. There's always something to do for each of your classes!
    c. Advice for students who are non-tradition
          i. Get yourself familiar with the campus and talk to students who are traditional students who are in your class. Get
             connected and talk to them and build that friendship or classmate-ship
         ii. Get involved as much as you can. I know this is hard to do, but by extending yourself to surround yourself with
             people who aren't like you isn't too bad. I personally love seeing someone who is a non-traditional student here
             on campus because it shows me that there is someone like me who also took a similar route like me. It shows
             me I am not alone and I'm not the only one!"

Daniel Lee Student Spotlight

May Student Spotlight: Daniel Lee. Senior year studying Biology with a Chemistry minor from Seoul, South Korea. He/Him/His pronouns. 

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "My grand aunt at Eau Claire, WI recommended this place as far as her husmand is alumni here at the UWRF."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I have been involved in OTL (ISS), General Staff (Production Services), and Building Manger (the University Center). I chose to get invovled because I love those groups."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "As being a student at UWRF, I do like most people here at UWRF (Professors, students, employees, customers, and whoever)."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "I plan to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) first, then I would probably apply for a PA or graduate school."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "Keep being busy yourself."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "The only source of knowledge is experience - Albert Einstein. Experience more here at UWRF. That would let you learn a lot of things."
Fall 2018

September 2018 Student Spotlight Katheryn Vang: She/Her/Hers pronouns. Junior, biomedical and communication majors, from Glenwood City, W

Kathryn Vang

September Student Spotlight: Kathryn Vang, Junior, Biomedial and Communication majors, from Glenwood City,  WI. She/Her/Hers pronouns

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "I chose to attend the University of Wisconsin-River Falls as a back up plan after my campus visit to the Univeristy of Minnesota-Twin City. In my senior year, I had applied to the U of M-Twin City because I had heard about how magnificent their biomedical opportunities were. After getting accepted to the U of M-Twin City, I made time to visit the campus and realized how suffocating the atmosphere was in that community. To me, the community gave off a sense of being too self-absorbed and unfriendly. With that expereience, I understood that I wanted more from college than just continuing my education but to also find a community that would support me. Not long after talking to a friend, she suggested UW-River Falls as a campus that I would enjoy due to the small campus and the cost of the tuition. So instead of visiting campus, I went on a whim and applied. As crazy as that is, I ended up enjoying my stay so far and believe that I made a good choice."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "As a student of UWRF, I enjoy not having to buy our own books for class and the ecofriendly idea of using reused books. What I enjoy most about being a part of CDIB is the way we as a community support each other and help incoming freshman feel welcomed."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I was planning to take a year or two to work and travel before continuing college to get my PHD to research cancer and stem cells."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "If you are not failing in your classes, then you do you I suppose."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "My only helpful advice that isn't common sense is to be open to criticism. It will be scary at first, but you can always improve regardless of what the improvement is on. The bigger picture to remember is that you are attending college to learn and grow to better yourself so don't worry so much."

October 2018 Student Spotlight: Saraphina Grimaldi. sixth year student, double major in english literature and a bachelor of fine arts with a major emphasis in drawing and a minor emphasis in printmaking, from Plymouth, MN, Pronouns are she/her/hers

Saraphina Grimaldi

October Student Spotlight: Saraphina Grimaldi, Sixth year with a double major in English Literature and a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major emphasis in Drawing and a minor emphasis in Printmaking, from Plymouth, MN. She/Her/Hers pronouns

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "For me, River Falls has always been 'it.' I toured a few other universities when I was in high school, but none of them felt like they were for me. I knew I wanted to go to a smaller school that was about an hour from home, and that had excellent English and Art programs. My mom heard about UWRF and scheduled a visit here and at another UW school over a weekend, and after touring here, both my mom and I knew it was the one. I cancelled my other tour and we drove back home. UWRF was the only school I applied to."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I have been involved in a lot of things here, as six years is a lot of time. My freshman year, I attended Muggles United because I love Harry Potter and I am a giant nerd, and I have been either the president or vice-president since my sophomore year. I have also been involved with the Student Feminist Organization, I have been an Art Ambassador since my freshman year, and I have been an Orientation and Transition Leader since I was a sophomore, but where I really found my home on campus was at GSA. The Gender & Sexuality Alliance here is very different from a lot of GSAs at other universities or high schools, we work incredibly hard to cultivate an accepting and open environment where students can feel welcomed regardless of any identifiers they possess, and that's something that I latched onto when I first went. I didn't attend GSA until halfway through my sophomore year, and I really wish I had gone sooner, because it's where I found my community. I have been on the executive board since I was a junior and I served as co-chair for two years. I am working hard to make sure those same values are maintained after I graduate. I really hope people can find that same feeling of acceptance that I found, because that's what made me want to be involved on campus."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "What I like most is that when I talk to new students (which happens a lot, since I work in New Student and Family Programs) who share with me that they are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and are concerned about feeling accepted here, I can confidently tell them that they have nothing to worry about. This university works hard and is constantly improving upon being as welcoming and accepting as they can be to people of all different backgrounds, and on the off chance that there is some issue, they will have the overwhelming support of this community. I feel like there is a place for me here, and one that is celebrated and appreciated just as much as any other."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "Ah, yes. The age-old question. In an ideal world, I would love to work as a portrait artist. Drawing people is something that I greatly enjoy, and I'd also love to own my own spooky coffee and tea shop. But unfortunately, such things aren't so easy to set in stone. It sounds like a cop out, but my plan for after I graduate is to just do my best to be happy, every day. I think that's something I have neglected for too long, so whatever steps it takes for me to get there, I'm gonna focus on those."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "I feel like so much advice that people give doesn't really sink in until you experience or realize things for yourself, but there are a few lessons I've learned in my time that I hope I can impart to students with some modicum of urgency, as they are things that I wish I had known sooner, and they are these:
    • Effort is everything. You get out what you put in, and this applies to everything. Work, school, relationships, it doesn't matter, if you want it, make it happen.
    • Don't worry so much. Pay attention and things will work out. Focus on what's in front of you, and get it done, the rest will follow. However, this also includes making sure your priorities are in order. School before fun, always, that's why we're here.
    • Find what makes you happy and cultivate it. Make time for it. That way, no matter how crazy life or your workload gets, you always have that thing to touch back on and ground you. It can be an activity, a person, an organization, a movie or a song, a line of a poem, anything. It should be a motivator, a supporter, and something that fulfills you. Hold onto it.
    • Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough, as it is what I have lived by my whole life: as one of my favourite authors once perfectly said, 'This above all: to thine own self be true.'"

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "We put so much importance on knowing what every next step of our life is in our society, and to a certain extent, knowing what direction you're going is important. But life is truly just as long as it is short, and you don't have to have everything figured out all the time. Lean on those who care about you, seek their advice and support. Know what is important to you and find a way to work that into your life. You'll be much happier than doing what is expected of you." 

Is there anything else you would like to highlight about yourself?

  • "I work really hard to make the drag show as awesome as possible, so please come to it and support the wonderful fundraiser that it is on October 13! I also do art sometimes (all the time), so if you're interested in seeing some, find me sometime. I'm easy to spot."

November 2018 Student Spotlight: Jose Bermeo, a senior studying Computer Science and Data Science from White Bear Lake, MN. Pronouns are he/him/his

Jose Bermeo

November Student Spotlight: Jose Bermeo, Senior studying Computer Science and Data science from White Bear Lake, MN. He/Him/His pronouns

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "There are two reasons why I chose to come to River Falls. 
    1) Around March, I came down for a campus visit. Walking through both the University and nearby attractions down Main Street, my first impression of River Falls was a quiet and relaxing area, but also deceptively engaging. The atmosphere at that moment absolutely sold me; I could see myself spending some of the best years around these parts. 
    2) Pricing and free textbooks! UW-River Falls offers quite reasonable financial support for students, allowing me to make decisions to boost my quality of life, such as living in the Residence Halls."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I have been involved with a widevariety of opportunities. Examples include: Concert choir, tech-crew, Student Support Services, Residence Life, DoTS, and ASPIRE. I believe (to this day) that being involved on campus is a fantastic way to build your personal character, especially at a time where many people are finalizing their self-identity. It allowed me to discover and adapt to my weaknessess, strengths, interests, and my interpersonal relationships. My carreer, friend group, and hobbies were all influenced by my involvement."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "What I like most about UWRF is how friendly the people are. I feel comfortable going up to professors or any faculty and having a friendly conversation with them. They almost always have much to offer me in wisdom and intellect. Being a part of CDIB has helped me get to better know myself. I have had the privilege of meeting people who share a common background, similar troubles, and a distinct appreciation of family life."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "I plan to find a job as a data scientist, but I am currently debating if I want to volunteer abroad and use the skills I've gathered here to help communities."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. To grow you must be willing to take risks, but be sure to pace yourself."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "When you come to school, find a balance between personal well-being, academics, and a social life. All three are necessary." 

Is there anything else you would like to highlight about yourself?

  • "I couldn't have gone through this journey on my own. My friends and connections have helped me become the person I am today. Now, I want to use this opportunity to help others do the same and continue this cycle of building humanity and meaning into everyone's lives."

December 2018 Student Spotlight: Misturat Amode. Senior majoring in Business administration with an emphasis in Marketing from Lagos, Nigeria and Saint Paul, Minnesota

Misturat Amode

December Student Spotlight: Misturat Amode. Senior majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing from Lagos, Nigeria and Saint Paul, Minnesota. She/Hem/Hers pronouns

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "I chose to come to River Falls because I wanted to get away from home. I've been in Saint Paul for over seven years, and I thought I should get away and try something new. I wanted to go to Duluth or U of M. I thought U of M wasn't really that far away, and I didn't want to go straight into college at a really big college. I thought I would try University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the first two years and maybe I could transfer to U of M, but I ended up falling in love with the people here so I just stayed."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I've been involved in quite a lot of things. I don't even remember most of the stuff that I've been involved in. But many of the things that I am involved in has to do with identity-based groups, things that are helping promote diversity on campus, and things that have to do with my major to help bring attention to that. So I just try to do things that will bring attention to stuff that students might not pay attention to in everyday learning. Most people don't pay attention to how many people of color are sitting in their class, or how many people need the extra ability in their class, so stuff that promotes that and tries to bring light to those things are things that I tend to participate in."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "What I like the most about being a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is that it's small enough that the professor knows you, and you can say what you want and have your voice heard. Because if I were to go somewhere like U of M, it would be a lot harder for me to connect with my professor. I still see my professor from freshman year, and he still says hi to me, still says 'how are you' which I think is really awesome. A lot of people who go to a bigger school don't have that same experience. What I like about being a part of CDIB is that this is an amazing program. They do a lot of stuff with the identity-based groups which is something that I'm really interested in. It helps them improve, and it helps them get bigger and get involved in the community on campus, and I think that's really awesome. They are helping students that are coming in fresh out of high school that don't know what they're doing and are very scared. CDIB makes them feel comfortable and have them stay longer than they thought they would be able to stay. I think that's awesome."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "Oh wow. I've had this question a lot this year. My plan after graduation is to work for a marketing agency. I got the chance to intern for General Mills over the summer, and I worked with the salty snacks marketing communication. Employees there were amazing. They helped me connect with a lot of people, and I realized that maybe I want to try out the agency side of marketing and see which ones I like best before I make my final decision about which one I want to pursue for the rest of my life. This semester, which is ending really fast, is for me to find a marketing agency that I want to work for after graduation."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "An advice that I would give current students is that college is not just about your classes. Yes, your classes are your number one priority and they're the things that you should be very focused on. But, do stuff outside of class. Meet people. Connect, and make sure you build your network before you get out of college because once you're in the real world, it's harder to connect with people just because everyone has a busy schedule. In college, you already have a full schedule so outside of college, imagine what people are doing with trying to keep up with their social life. So connect with people because there are things that you wouldn't be able to do outside of college. In college you have time to go to the gym, study, and have fun with your friends. But once you're outside, it's work, go home, get ready for the next day. So do as much as you can. Explore everything. Do everything that you're interested in, and find out what you like and don't like."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • " Come to River Falls, especially if you're a PSO. Come to River Falls because they need representation. Some people are like 'there's not a lot of PSOs here so I do not want to be here,' but once you leave, that number decreases. So come here. Stand out, and let your voice be heard. Let them know that you're all here together and that you all want to do something outside of college together. I don't know if that makes sense. But come and represent that PSO group and let students that did not grow up seeing people of color know that you can interact with them like any other person because based on media, that's a totally different story. Tell your own story."
Spring 2018

Student Spotlight Martch 2018 Gaudalupe Torres

Guadalupe Torres

March 2018 Student Spotlight: Guadalupe Torres, Sophomore, Social Work Major from Brooklyn Center, MN. Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "I decided to come to River Falls because it is far enough to where I feel independent but also close enough to where I could go home if I need to. When I first visited campus, I knew River Falls was Right for me. Staff was nice, resources I needed are here, and it's small enough to get to know people."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "During my Freshman year, I decided to join Hall Council as the Residence Hall Association (RHA) representative. I wanted to get involved on campus because this is the easiest way to get to know people. I was also a Desk Assistant (DA) during my freshman year so I was Integrated into Residence Life.
    • "I also took the opportunity to apply to be a Resident Assistant (RA) and now during my sophomore year, I am one in May Hall. I love building community and has been a great fit because I also have built my skills.
    • "Starting during my freshman year, I decided to join Student Support Service (SSS). This program guides students toward finding resources on campus, money saving tips, study tips, and so much more.
    • "As I got into the profession of Social Work, I oined the Student Social Work Asssociation because I wanted to have a community of other social work students around me. I reccomend you check out campus organizations that relate to your major."

How has the Center of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging impacted/worked with you?

  • "I first learned about CDIB when I met Martin (the current Director) during my freshman year. His goal was to create a safe space on campus for those who needed one. We were able to have a space where all students could hang out and study. I met Jannie (the current ASPIRE Coordinator) during my interview as her role of hall director and later discovered she had a position in the CDIB office.
    • "With an office like CDIB, they have helped with creating a space where students of color could openly talk about problems on campus. This space has truly helped me be open about my interactions."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "What I enjoy about being a student at UWRF and part of the CDIB is that it truly feels like a close community. CDIB gave me the opportuity to meet new people who look like me and I can relate to. I also enjoy that the professors, staff, and faculty members are welcoming."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "I always tell current students that they should try something new. Join a new club, try a class you wouldn't think to do. Also study abroad, you will enjoy every moment!"

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "For future students, I will say this: enjoy the WOW (Week of Welcome) events! They are so fun and you will meet a lot of people there. Ask questions when you're visiting campus. Talk to Martin, Jannie, or any of the CDIB Staff! Talk to current students to get their experience."

April 2018 Student Spotlight - JJ Knapp, 5th year student studying art history and drawing. Their pronouns are they/them/their.

JJ Knapp

April Student Spotlight: JJ Knapp, 5th year student, major in Art History & Drawing. They/Them pronouns

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "I was really interested in the options in the art program. I also loved the small town feel with the closenss to the cities."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "I have worked with so many organizations both on campus and in the community. However, I have spent the most time working with the Student Feminist Organization, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, and the Student Government Association. I did a lot of advocacy and activism with the help of these organizations."

What role did you play in our University implementing a Center of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging?

  • "The Student Body President at the time, along with a few students within student government  got together and asked for my input and assistance on what we were lacking on campus for lgbtq+ students and students of color. After deciding that what we needed were decided spaces and advocates, I got letters of support from students who believed that we needed more resources on our campus, helped draft the motion from the student government association asking the chancellor to support its creation, sat on the planning committee to flesh out the positions and expectations for the center, and sat on the hiring committee for the Gender and Sexuality Outreach Coordinator. I basically took the initial idea and ran with it."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "Honestly I'm really proud that I had the chance to make this university a little better than how I found it. It's been really awesome to see CDIB flourish and make plans to go above and beyond what I initially imagined. I'm so happy that I have the privilege to say that I helped create CDIB. I've met and worked with so many great people and I wouldn't be the person I am today without them and these experiences."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "I'm taking a year off to focus on my artwork before I apply to graduate school. I hope to pursue art therapy and sex therapy as I really want to work with trauma victims. A tattoo apprenticeship would also be pretty cool."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "If you don't like the way something is or don't think something is right, challenge it. If you're scared to do it alone, look for your allies. But make sure you do research first so that you know what you're getting into!"

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "Be open to new things and new ideas. You're here to learn more than just skills for a future career! This is a chance to discover more about yourself and the world around you!"
Student Spotlight May 2018 - Alfonso Tolbert, Senior, Marketing Communications Major from Rogers, MN. He/Him/His pronouns
Alfonso Tolbert

May Student Spotlight: Alfonso Tolbert, Senior, major in Marketing Communications, from Rogers, MN. He/Him/His pronouns

Why did you choose to come to River Falls?

  • "During my senior year of high school, I visited my cousin (now a UWRF Alumni) and really enjoyed my experience. After that visit I decided that UWRF was where I wanted to attend to get a traditional midwestern college experience."

What have you been involved with during your time here and why did you choose to get involved?

  • "During my time here at UWRF, I was involved in many different things on campus. My freshman year, I managed the UWRF Women's soccer team, which was fun for me because I grew up playing soccer and love the sport til this day. I also founded UWRF's first Collegiate DECA chapter my freshman year and served as president up until my senior year. I currently hold a position as a Media Communications intern for the Office of Student Involvement, which has allowed me the opportunity to work with the Center of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging."

You implemented the first Diversity Dinner at UWRF. Can you explain what that was and how you went about creating it?

  • "The Diversity Dinner was a vision I had early into my senior year as a response to the interesting policital climate our country is currently in. I wanted to produce a project that would highlight students of influence on a college campus discussing issues that affect the world they live in. I was originally very nervous to produce the project, but my entire office was very supportive especially my supervisor, Elise Koop, who partnered me up with CDIB at the time to produce the project. I wanted to film this discussion to showcase to students at our campus that anyone can have an opinion about what's going on around them and find a way to express what they're feeling. The office of CDIB currently hosts a reoccuring event called 'Diversity Dialogues' that I feel not enough students take advantage of. Crazy things happen in this country literally every day, and I think dialogues like the ones held by CDIB are very helpful. I hope my project encourages participation in 'Diversity Dialogues' next academic school year. My goal with the Diversity Dinner was to get students talking and recognize the importance of staying informed about the world we live in. The project went extremely well and I hope students enjoy watching it."

What do you like most about being a student at UWRF and being a part of CDIB?

  • "The thing I love most about UWRF is the ability to tailor my college experience to set myslef up for success in the future. It is very easy to get involved at UWRF and that has helped open a lot of doors for me career wise off campus. CDIB is the same way. They made it very easy for me to collaborate with them."

What are your plans after graduation?

  • "Following graduation, I will be working as a Brand Strategy Intern for the mono advertising agency in Minneapolis. Breaking into the advertising industry is a lot harder than most people realize. Interning after graduation has become an industry norm, which has created a lot of competition to land a spot in a post graduate intern program. I am so thankful for the experience the Office of Student Involvement has given me during my time working for the office. I highly recommend interning for the Office of Student Involvement if you're serious about making life long connections while taking your career to the next level."

What advice would you give current students?

  • "Get involved as much as you can. Simply going to college isn't enough anymore because that has become the norm. If you want to succeed you need to show the world that you are willing to do what most will not."

What advice would you give to future students?

  • "Start thinking about your future sooner than later. If you have a goal or dream, start thinking about what it takes to achieve it."

Is there anything else you would like to highlight about yourself?

  • "I would like to thank Amy Lloyd, Karyn Wells, and Elise Koop for supporting me during my internship with Student Involvement over the last two years. I have grown a lot as a professional while working for them. They truly create an environment for students to succeed. I look forward to seeing how the interns after me make the most of their experience."

Contact Us

Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging

inclusion@uwrf.edu

715-425-3300

M - F, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

170 University Center

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