Chris SalvadorNot only is Chris Salvador a man of big ideas, he’s a man on a mission. So watch out Highlanders young and old, Chris Salvador, a UCR senior majoring in Business Administration and minoring in Philosophy, aims to enrich your student life.

Let’s begin with a little background information: Salvador boasts an impressive number of undergraduate accomplishments, including being an ASUCR Senator, a DJ for KUCR (88.3 MHz), a co-founder and President of Skate Club, and the founding father as well as Vice President of UCR’s newest fraternity, Kappa Sigma… just to name a few.

First off, Salvador made it expressively clear that he seeks no recognition for his accomplishments. Rather, his goal is to help struggling undergraduate students have a more enjoyable and satisfying college experience at UCR. Only a few minutes into our interview, and I was struck by his earnest intent. Pulling up a word document on his computer screen, he told me how he wants to express to other students his struggles and experiences, throughout his own college career, in the hope of bettering other’s experiences.

Opening up on a more personal level, Salvador expressed how he suffered from depression in his early years at UCR. He was stricken with a sense of meaninglessness, devoid of purpose for months on end. As he told me of these most serious struggles, I watched him crack a faint smile. I shot back, in kind, with a quick glance of confusion. Salvador’s smile grew as he explained that what freed him from this dark period in his life was not drugs nor other means of conventional medicine. Rather, he was lifted into lasting good spirits by devoting himself to the service of the community. As he phrased it, “in losing yourself in the service of others, you can find true meaning in your own life.”

In Salvador’s own words, he told me about his eight simple steps to improve one’s student life while at UCR:

1. Have pride in our our school, and make an effort to hang out on our beautiful campus more. Weather it’s chatting with friends or making new ones at the HUB, playing darts or pool at Latitude 55, or even seeing a poetry slam at the Barn, the more time you spend at school doing new things the more friends you’ll make.

2. Take a stroll around Downtown Riverside and involve yourself with the events and activities taking place in our proverbial back yard. There’s tons of history in Downtown Riverside at places like The Mission Inn and others. There’s the Arts Walk, the Saturday farmers market, and local bands often play at the Back to the Grind coffee shop.

3. Enroll in classes that you’re interested in, even if they’re not in your discipline. A fulfilled and rich college experience demands taking risks, and depends less on your major and more on your interests. Diversify your general education by learning an instrument, acting in a play, etc. Who knows, you might just discover some hidden talent or passion, which would be otherwise unexplored.

4. Surround yourself with good company and nurture relationships with your roommates. It’s a matter of perspective. Some undergraduates meet their spouses or, at the very least, make lifelong friends in college. There are future doctors, lawyers, businessmen, engineers, chemists, politicians, etc. here right now. This poses a unique opportunity for us to develop a broad range of connections and relationships with a diverse range of individuals.

5. Get involved, go to Student Life and join an organization! This couldn’t be simpler, yet so many students fail to do so. The more involved you get with student organizations, the more fun you’ll have! No matter what you’re into, there’s a niche organization for you. Be it skating with friends, volunteering at KUCR, or going on the occasional snowboarding run to Big Bear, the opportunities and friendly people are out there, just waiting for your participation.

6. Volunteer at the UCR Extension Center and help out a foreign exchange student with their English. Working with these students will expose you to new cultures, languages, religions, and enrich your educational experience. Volunteering at the Extension Center will expand your horizons and holistically enlighten your worldview.

7. Tune in to KUCR 88.3 FM, catch a Wednesday Nooner at the Bell Tower and attend a show at the Barn! Discovering new music is key to developing personal taste and can even be therapeutic. Get plugged into new and local tunes that are distributed by UCR’s various student organizations, you won’t regret it.

8. Know that you are not alone! Your struggles are shared by a multitude of your fellow students, and following these steps will help you personally develop in a positive way. There are professionals at the Health Center ready to lend a listening ear to those in need, and a plethora of student organizations hungry for new members.

In closing, Salvador shared some additional insight stating that “students are powerful and have many resources to enhance the value of their education.” Adding, in metaphor, that, “If you go to Six Flags but you don’t go on any rides, did you really go to Six Flags at all?” This logic can be extended to the dollar value of one’s education at UCR. Get involved and start having a great time!