Bold Hearts. Brilliant Minds.

Middle Eastern Student Experience

Middle Eastern Student Experience


Making a Difference on Campus
and Around the World

UC Riverside is proud to be home to top-ranked academic programs, award-winning faculty, and cutting-edge research. Our campus thrives thanks to one of the nation's most-diverse, community-engaged, and service-minded student bodies. Students led the creation of the Middle Eastern Student Center (MESC)  the nation's first professionally staffed center serving students with ties to the Middle East and North Africa. Develop as a leader, build community, and get involved on campus by joining one of the more than 450 student organizations at UCR or one of our more than 30 Greek organizations. Take part in research, intern in Sacramento or Washington, D.C., participate in a service learning project, or teach a one-unit class through Student Engagement programs.


Partners in Your Success

You have the drive and the passion to pursue your dreams. UCR has the programs and resources to make those dreams a reality.


Academic Enrichment & Support

If you need extra help in your classes, or are interested in helping fellow students excel, the Academic Resource Center offers tutoring, workshops, and mentorship programs to all undergraduate students. Work as a research assistant or find a peer mentor in your major. Intern with a government agency in Washington, D.C., earn academic credit for community service projects, or create and teach your own course through Undergraduate Education.


Campus Life

UCR is home to more than 450 student clubs and organizations covering a wide range of interests, including fraternities, sororities, social justice organizations, cultural organizations, and academic organizations. One campus group is the Middle Eastern Student Assembly (MESA), which works as an advisory committee to MESC. The Afghan Student Association is dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of the Afghan culture. The Arabic Culture Club works on campus to enhance knowledge of the Arabic language and Arab culture.


Financial Aid

Find out how affordable and valuable a UCR degree can be for California residents and out-of-state students, including being automatically considered for scholarships. In 2023-24, 85% of UCR undergraduates who applied for aid were awarded aid, and 97% of undergrads who were awarded aid received need-based scholarships and/or grants. The Financial Aid office also provides Financial Wellness programming to help you make smart choices for managing your money now and planning for the future.


Health & Wellness

The health of your mind, body, and spirit are integral to your personal and academic success. The Well is UCR's student-focused well-being and health promotion department. It develops and implements innovative health campaigns, programs, and events with our partners and peer educators to provide awareness, skills and support to help students develop healthy habits that last a lifetime.



Live in a supportive community with other students who share your goals and interests in a UCR Living-Learning Community. One option is Markaz, a Middle Eastern theme hall that was established in 2018 through the efforts of MESC. Located in the Pentland Hills residence hall, Markaz offers residents peer mentoring, educational support, social functions, field trips, cultural events, and more.

MESC students

Middle Eastern Student Center

In 2013, a group of 14 UCR students rallied the campus to create a center that would serve students with ties to the Middle East and North Africa. Through their efforts, the Middle Eastern Student Center (MESC) — the first professionally staffed Middle Eastern student resource center in the nation — was founded. MESC serves UCR as a whole through its educational and cultural programming, supportive resources, and advocacy work. Through MESC’s efforts, "Middle Eastern" was added as a self-identification choice on the UC application and halal meat was introduced as a campus dining option. MESC Mentors help first-year students successfully transition to university life. The MESC Alumni Network brings together UCR graduates. The center’s programming like ME Week, MESCafé, and True Life Series bring together the campus community to share life experiences, cultures, and traditions. Students can also develop as leaders through volunteer and employment opportunities with MESC.

Student Spotlights

“UC Riverside is a welcoming and diverse environment where I believe I can flourish as someone who is passionate about social justice and advocacy. I was drawn to UCR because I wanted to be educated in an environment that could not only provide me with a quality education, but could also provide me with the unique resources and the sense of community I seek as a Muslim and Middle Eastern student. UCR and the Middle Eastern Student Center have provided me with an enriching and safe learning environment I can thrive in.”

Samia, Class of '21
Education and Political Science

“I have benefitted from the Middle Eastern Student Center and other Costo Hall centers as they have provided me with resources that have allowed me to grow as a leader, as a student, and as a person. These centers have provided me with opportunities to connect with not only my culture, but also have provided me with perspectives that have challenged me into expanding my knowledge in all realms of life. The cultural and educational programming put on by these Ethnic & Gender [Centers] have contributed most to my development at UCR.”

Ali, Class of '20

Middle Eastern Student Experience Videos

    • Video: Meet the Generations of Students Who Call UCR R'Home

      Learn What Mohamed Hussein Loves About UCR

    • Video: Learn About Christopher Houston's Transfer Student Experience

      See How #ucrstandstogether

    • Video: Meet Jade, a first generation student studying psychology at UCR

      Learn About Christine Ibrahim's Experience Joining MESC

    • Video: Take a Tour of the Pan-African Theme Hall‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

      Check out the Best Moments from ME Week 2017

    • Video: Discover the Resources Available to Transfer Students

      Discover the Resources Available to Transfer Students