Exactly how important is on-campus involvement for minority students?

 Josh, bottom left, at a Chinese Student and Scholars Event last school year. Photo courtesy of CSSA.

Josh, bottom left, at a Chinese Student and Scholars Event last school year. Photo courtesy of CSSA.

Getting involved on-campus was a great way for two UMD students to meet others and feel comfortable when they first came here from China.

“It’s really up to people how involved you want to be,” said Yue Zhao, better known as Josh — here at UMD, that is.

Josh is a 23-year-old graduate student at UMD. He spent the first three years of his undergrad at Dongbei University of Finance and Economics (DUFE) and then journeyed to the United States to study abroad for his final year of undergrad as a finance major. Josh enjoyed his experience so much that he continued his education at UMD and now he will be graduating this may with a master’s in math.

During his first year at UMD, he became a member of the Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA). The following year Josh became the vice president of the association from August 2016-May 2017. The club is made up of about twelve Chinese student members.

The CSSA is focused on helping Chinese students adjust to UMD by participating in activities such as tours to Gooseberry Falls. They also put on two major events, the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Spring Festival, which are both very important events in Chinese culture.

The CSSA aims to explore new ways to improve activities that help UMD students and faculty/staff members learn more about the Chinese culture.

“I joined because I had friends in it and I wanted to make it even better for other students,” Josh said.

In an article titled Settling into Campus Life, it discussed how minority students who participate in extracurricular activities on campus reduce the likelihood of dropping out of college by over 80 percent.

 Mori, first on the right, at a Chinese Student and Scholar Association event. Photo courtesy of CSSA.

Mori, first on the right, at a Chinese Student and Scholar Association event. Photo courtesy of CSSA.

Jingwen Zhou, better known as Mori here at school, has attended UMD for the past three years, majoring in Management Information Systems. Outside of her studies in Management Information Systems, she is the current president of CSSA.

Mori had heard of CSSA when she was a freshman and she went to some of the club’s events. During her sophomore year, she decided to become a member of CSSA and was appointed to the treasurer position. Last year’s president of the group highly encouraged Mori to take on the presidential role for CSSA for the 2017–2018 school year. This role gave Mori more responsibility and leadership.

“I struggled at first when I got to campus [freshman year]," Mori said. "So, I wanted to help freshmen and others get comfortable here."

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