UC Santa Barbara's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) established Creating Community in 2014 for graduate students of African heritage. Creating Community is designed to help students of African descent cope with challenges of adjusting to UCSB and the greater Santa Barbara community.
Dr. Mario Barfield and Dr. Meridith Merchant coordinate weekly meetings in the MultiCultural Center (MCC). “It is our goal to allow this to be a grad student space. We therefore do not often have strict agendas regarding how we will spend our time,” says Dr. Barfield. Past groups have covered topics such as self-care, navigating research, dissertation defense, relationships, and departmental support.
In addition to CAPS sponsorship, Zaveeni Marcus-Khan, Director of the MCC, supports Creating Community. Marcus-Kahn has worked with Dr. Barfield and Dr. Merchant to promote Creating Community.
UCSB strives to support students of African heritage. In spring 2014, Chancellor Yang agreed to demands made by UCSB’s Black Student Union. Requests were aimed at improving the entire UCSB experience for both students and faculty, including mental health services culturally sensitive to students of African heritage. Dr. Merchant embraces this philosophy and is willing to “meet students where they are.”
Creating Community: A Support Space for Black Graduate Students
When: 3 p.m.-4:30 p.m. on Mondays (Fall Quarter 2015)
Where: MCC (MultiCultural Center) meeting room
Details: "Join in a discussion of the unique challenges commonly experienced as a graduate student of African Heritage. Relieve stress. Be empowered. Be encouraged. Celebrate successes. Share ideas for maintaining a work-life-school-home balance," from the CAPS group counseling website.