Sergio Arteaga remembers what the Latino Club did for him while attending Western Nevada College. Now, the 2011 WNC graduate wants to provide the same positive experience for students attending WNC's Douglas campus.
Arteaga has started the Diversity Student Club, the first club on the Douglas campus since it opened in 1997.
"I saw the opportunity to bring the students here together, like the Latino Club did for me," said Arteaga, the Douglas campus manager and the club's adviser.
He said the club will create a "sticky group" in the Douglas community, his term that bonds people together through their interactions and commonalities.
"I feel it will bring the students together," he said. "It's more of a small campus where students take their classes and leave. This will encourage them to help each other out and hang out. It helps you get out there."
Arteaga said the Latino Club helped him step outside the boundaries of his comfort zone while attending WNC.
"I can speak for myself that it helped me get out of my shell and become more social and friendly," he said. "A couple of students (in this club) are very shy. It's going to help them engage more in a college environment and succeed."
As the club name suggests, diversity will be emphasized for members.
"Our club is based on understanding and working together, no matter what background you are from," he said.
The new club held its first meeting earlier this month, and Arteaga was encouraged by the turnout and enthusiasm.
"We had about 10 or 11 students there, and we have 15 signed up," he said.
They also elected club officers: Stella Larsen, president; Victoria Theriault, vice president; Jesseca Pacheco, secretary; and Vincent Anderson, treasurer.
John Kinkella, WNC's dean of student services, is pleased to add a community-minded club to its growing list of student organizations.
"This new club will focus on the community service projects that benefit the people who live in the Douglas service area," Kinkella said. "They also plan to raise money for a Douglas campus scholarship and actively promote degree completion. A lot of them are excited to get started raising money for the community."
As a community-minded group, the Diversity Student Club plans to raise money for a local organization, as well as create funding for student scholarships.
"It'll be 50-50," Arteaga said. "Fifty percent will go to a local organization, and the other half will go toward a scholarship for a Douglas student."
Possible fundraising plans for the club are to hold raffles and dinners.
For more information, contact Arteaga at 782-2413 or visit www.wnc.edu/location/douglas.