On the first floor of Grant Hall, near the main entrance of the first building on campus, sits the Shel ch’naq’ahnilu Center. It’s a casual spot for study and socializing. It’s also the on-campus home of Alaska Native and Rural Student Services and its new coordinator, Barbara Amos.
“Come and say hi,” she said. “I’m here to support you.”
Barbara’s program welcomes all students, but emphasizes cultural support. She knows the transition from rural Alaska can be challenging. She grew up in Mekoryuk, on Nunivak Island, and attended college in Fairbanks and Anchorage. Native Student Services helped her connect with other Indigenous students at the University of Alaska and stay attached to her language and culture. “If it wasn’t for Native Student Services, I don’t think I would have survived,” she said.
She hopes to create a similar space on APU’s campus, full of programs and opportunities and support. “I want students to connect and feel at home and feel supported emotionally,” she said. In her first semester, Barbara organized events on everything from financial aid to Yupik language. There’s Eskimo dancing on Thursdays and lunch once a month. This semester, she’s partnering with the Alaska Native Heritage Center to plan even more events, including beading, carving paddles, and making earrings.
She wants everyone to stop by and find a space for themselves, she said. “I’m here to serve Alaska Native and rural students and everybody who needs help.”
Want to find out what’s happening? Just stop by. The Shel ch’naq’ahnilu Center is in Grant Hall Room 125 and programs are open to all students.