Companies seek diversity on campus at Multicultural Fair

By Cyndi Loza

The Office of Minority Student Affairs is hosting the biannual Multicultural Career Fair Tuesday at the Illini Union rooms A, B, and C from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“As far as career fairs on this campus go, it’s a pretty non-threatening one,” said Grace Casillas, assistant to the director at the Office of Minority Student Affairs. “A lot of students I think are kind of intimidated by some of the bigger ones because you don’t know exactly what to do or who to go talk to. It’s kind of (like) you’re afraid to walk in there and strike up a conversation with an employer. Ours is pretty small so I think it’s just a lot less intimidating.”

The fair was established after companies kept contacting the office about recruiting high-achieving minority students, Casillas said. As opposed to setting up interviews individually, the fair allows companies to meet students all at once.

“These were companies that knew that they needed to diversify their work force, and they wanted a quick and easy way to do it,” Casillas said. “So they thought … the best way to get high-achieving minority students is to go to some place like the University of Illinois and talk to those students directly.”

Reynel Penn, junior in LAS, is attending the fair in hopes of finding an internship. He said he thinks attending the fair is a good idea regardless if a person is looking for a job soon.

“I just want to go and … try to get my name out there,” Penn said.

Toccara Castleman, senior in Communications, believes this event differs from other career fairs because, though minority students attend those fairs, this event is specifically tailored to minority students and is more welcoming to them. Castleman said she also plans to attend the fair.

“I hope to be able to make connections with decent companies in preparation for life after graduation,” Castleman said. “Since the real world is rapidly approaching, it’s never too early to start.”

Casillas said a good way to prepare for this and other career fairs, as well as obtaining a job in general, is to visit the Career Center at the University.

“Not enough students go and take advantage of the services they (the Career Center) offer … they have all kinds of really important instructions on how to prepare for, not just for the career fair, but just for applying for jobs in general,” Casillas said. “I think that that’s the best thing student can do … just go there and see everything that they have to offer and make use of those services.”

Castleman said she plans on taking 15 resumes with her to the event. She said she hopes to find a media-related or non-profit organization with whom to work.

Casillas said a lot of students get interviewed as a result of the fair and some even have their interviews the next day. She also suggested that students bring several copies of their resume when attending the fair.

“We get a lot of students that get interviewed as a result of the fair … to us, that’s reason to feel like it’s a sufficient event,” Casillas said.