Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Differential Experiences: The Impacts of Registered Student Organizations on the Latina/o college experience
Author(s):Anth411 07-15
Registered Student Organization
Student Housing
Abstract:The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is both a racialized and a classed space. As an institution in which the majority of its student population is white, UIUC has had a history of racial intolerance. I discuss the racially-intolerant housing experiences, the peripheral status of the Latina/o Studies program and the marginalization of Latina/o students in the university classroom as manifestations of racial intolerance. Racial intolerance excludes Latina/o students from the university and results in the university’s absence in the college experience of Latina/o students. The registered student organization (RSO) works as a “parallel system” in replacing the absence of the university as a social support system. I conducted fieldwork with an RSO on campus which I call El Grupo and conducted in-depth interviews with members outlining their educational histories from kindergarten to UIUC. I sat in at weekly meetings, attended El Grupo-sponsored events and fundraisers and conducted extensive interviews with various members.
Issue Date:2008-02-15
Course / Semester:ANTH 411: Methods for Sociocultural Anthropology, Prof. Nancy Abelmann. This course introduced students to a variety of ethnographic methods. Students tried their hand at some of these methods through a focused project. I had students think about their semester-long work as "pilot research"; although they did write up a short paper on their findings (their "discuss" section of the database), the culminating assignment was a research proposal in which they envision building on their preliminary findings in a longer/larger project. In the beginning of the semester, students did some warm-up exercises not directly related to their projects (an observation, an analysis of a university document, and an interview) -- some students elected to remove these from their databases while others left them in because of their connection to the final project. Students' "question" and "plan" sections of the database include multiple entries as I encouraged them to continue to refine these over the course of the semester in dialogue with their own emerging findings. I also asked students to search both the U of I Student Life and Cultures Archives and well as this EUI IDEALS collection to find archives relevant to their pilot/proposed research. All students were asked to "reflect" on the research experience and to make "recommendations" to the University on the basis of their research findings. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-02-15

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.

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