ERC week will promote center’s use

For most students, the acronym ERC has little or no meaning.

But coordinators of next week’s Equality Resource Center Awareness week hope they can change that. The ERC, located in Davies Center, is a resource that Krista Schweiner, media relations chair for Student Senate, said is under-used by students at the university.

“The ERC opened last year at about this time,” Schweiner said. “And it has been underutilized for what a great resource it is.”

Because of this, the ERC will host a variety of events beginning Monday to promote awareness of the center. Each day, Monday through Thursday, is devoted to a specific topic related to diversity on campus.

Monday is Women’s Day and will feature three speakers and a Student Life and Diversity meeting.

Tuesday the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community will be focused on in a noon event called “Tell Me Your Name.”

Wednesday’s emphasis will be on multicultural issues. David Fleitas, from the American Ethnic Coordinating Office, will speak at 2 p.m. about diversity on campus.

Special education assistant professor Sarah Hadden will be one of the speakers Thursday, which is devoted to people with disabilities.

Hadden said she plans on bringing a student who is disabled to the ERC and will discuss various issues concerning people who are disabled.

“We’re going to talk about the fact that there’s laws for equal access and opportunity for disabled people in our society,” Hadden said. “And despite that, there are difficulties that they might encounter.

“The truth is people with disabilities are like everyone else,” she said. “We want to raise awareness.”

Schweiner said other campuses have offices like the ERC, and Eau Claire’s lack of diversity in some areas means the ERC can be an even more important resource for students than similar centers on more diverse campuses.

“Any students in any area are going to end up dealing with diverse people,” Schweiner said.

Getting the word out is one of the goals of each of the individual groups participating in the week.

And that’s also the intent of ERC Week for the center – to let students know about what it offers.

“It’s a good way to promote the center,” Schweiner said.