Walking into UMC 227, you can see the place bustling with students talking, studying, printing and eating because it has become a comfortable space for so many students. Thanks to the Student Outreach and Retention Center for Equity (SORCE), this space has become a haven where community, resources and support are key.

Ever since its inception in 1999, SORCE has served as a space for underrepresented students to thrive with a variety of opportunities. This year alone, SORCE has filled hundreds of students with our infamous Chili Pots and supplied them with resources like free printing, free blue books and our computer lab.

SORCE has even reached out to roughly 12,000 younger, K-12 students in the Denver and Boulder metro area, as well as other states. Through our tours, visits and our relationship with the Boulder Valley School District, we have the ability to talk to the youth and to offer them conferences that provide an avenue for community, discussion and engagement. We believe in promoting higher education at a young age to show younger generations that it is possible and feasible to attend a university such as CU-Boulder.

By reaching out to the youth, we create opportunities for various students who may not have had this opportunity otherwise. In addition, SORCE includes student volunteers in our tours, visits and students panels so we can give younger generations a broader view of the experiences that underrepresented students at CU have. Along with six student staff members, Director Victor Hernandez and Assistant Director Karen Shimamoto help guide students of all ages in professionalism, activism, and academics. With a grassroots approach, SORCE engages with underrepresented communities directly and maintains involvement with various student organizations and other resources on this campus.

This is exactly why SORCE is vital to CU-Boulder. SORCE is and will continue to be utilized because it is central to so many underrepresented students.

With the many people we have connected to and have built relationships with, SORCE will continue to foster an inclusive environment of support and safety. SORCE stands for community and creating that home away from home. From the current students on campus to the students to come, SORCE will be there with our outreach and retention to help students on their way as scholars.

As this semester comes to a close, we hope you join us in UMC 227 for our last Chili Pot on Wednesday at noon in UMC 227. Come share a meal with a community that has grown with every generation of students and come to a space that feels like home.

Ben Nguyen is a junior studying communication at the University of Colorado and is SORCE's Inner-Campus Liaison