Do I have to be a student of color/minority student to use the Center for Student Diversity?
No, everyone is welcome! You don't have to be of a particular race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or any other identity to use the Center for Student Diversity. We serve all students, and all students are welcome to use our services, attend our events, be part of our programs, or hang out in our Community Room. While one part of our mission is to provide support and advocacy for traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations, we are not limited to serving only those populations. We believe that everyone contributes to and can learn from the diversity of our community.
What types of diversity do you deal with?
All types, really. We do have a core focus on providing support and advocacy for students of color, LGBTQ identified students, and students from minority religious or faith traditions, because those populations have historically been underrepresented and underserved. However, we are not limited to serving only those populations. In our programs and all that we do, we seek to think about diversity in expansive ways, to consider the variety of life experiences and perspectives that are often left out of the mainstream. So, you might notice that we are talking about types of diversity not always considered, such as ability status, neurodiversity, living with mental health challenges, growing up in foster care, being a Third Culture Kid, or many other experiences that significantly shape how people see the world.
I don't think I am diverse. Why should I be interested in diversity?
It's a common idea that "diversity" only applies to certain groups of people -- some people are "diverse" and others aren't. We think about it differently. Diversity is about a lot more than what terms or labels we use to describe ourselves, or that others use to describe us. Diversity is about how our life experiences have shaped how we see the world, our ideas and our perspectives. Each of us is influenced by our experiences. Learning how others experience and perceive the world is critical for all of us, and that is a major reason to be interested in diversity. For one thing, understanding others is essential to living together with respect. But research shows us there are some particular benefits to interacting with and learning about people different from ourselves: those experiences with diversity are significant to developing leadership skills, and diversity has a positive impact on the performance of work groups as well, because differing perspectives forces us to re-examine our assumptions and think more creatively.
How can I get involved with the Center for Student Diversity?
You are in luck. There are lots of ways to get involved! If you are new to campus, a great place to start is just attending events and activities to meet people and to become familiar with the conversations that are taking place. One great thing about programs focused on diversity is that there is almost always more to learn, and conversations on the same topic will be different with each new group of people. New students can also take advantage of the SPAN Program, our peer mentoring program. For students who are more advanced, there are opportunities to work with our office in a number of capacities, as student employees, peer mentors, residential counselors in our summer PLUS Program, peer educators, or performers in our theatrical ensemble for orientation.