On July 20th, 1995, the UC Regents voted to eliminate affirmative action for admissions and hiring of faculty. This lead to a decline in minority populations on campuses and the rise of student-initiated outreach and retention centers across the UC.
In the spring of 2011, UCI students ran a referendum to establish SOAR and got the majority of the vote (66%), but not enough of the student population voted and the referendum failed.
Inspired by the hard work of students Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Parham, allocated soft funds for 3 years to initiate the SOAR Center.
SOAR officially opened its doors in the Fall of 2011.
The Referendum Passes
In order to secure permanent funding for the center, students strategized and ran the SOAR Up campaign. In addition to addressing the outreach and retention of underrepresented minority students, the campaign also birthed the initial beginnings of the food pantry.
In 2014, the students won and the referendum passed by 74%, securing funding for the SOAR Center for the next 30 years.
Early Days of SOAR (2014 -2015)
The SOAR Center has been an incubator for student-initiated projects.
The DREAM Center and FRESH Hub Basic Needs Pantry were birthed from the SOAR Center.
Present Day SOAR
The SOAR Center continues to support students in their outreach and retention efforts, awarding $30,000 in grants to organizations doing retention work and $65,000 to clubs doing outreach work every year.
The Center also provides a safe space for students to study and build coalitions.