By Kendall Tich
The America we live in today celebrates and embraces the multitude of cultures, ethnic identities and backgrounds of the people who call this country home.
It is becoming increasingly important to learn ways in which we can better interact in a global setting through adaptation to and acceptance of people from all different demographics.
The AS Senate Inclusion & Diversity Committee “embraces all forms of diversity in our campus community, and in so doing respects the unique characteristics of our community members and their contributions to our campus.”
Although our campus has aimed at becoming a more diverse and inclusive community, only 34 percent of our undergraduate student body identify themselves as minorities, while 55 percent of undergrads identify themselves as “white only.”
For many USD students, coming to college was their first glimpse at the range of ethnicities and races that our country is home to. Others had grown up in areas where there are people from all different places and backgrounds.
If you are anything like me and have had the chance to live in a culture different from your own, you may have been shocked at the lack of diversity on our campus.
That’s not to say, however, that we don’t have initiatives to improve diversity on campus.
The Student Outreach and Recruitment Club (SOAR) is “a student organization that specifically focuses on and is committed to engaging in diversity recruitment, outreach and retention efforts at the University of San Diego.”
Members of this club participate in a multitude of recruitment events to diversify the student body for future generations of USD students.
Similarly, The United Front Multicultural Club “invite(s) all to experience diverse cultures and traditions, explore identities, engage in dialogue, challenge barriers, build leadership skills and empower each other to create an intellectually vibrant, socially just and inclusive community.”
Members of this club aim to recognize the diversity that already exists on our campus while also encouraging an improvement in inclusion at USD.
You may be wondering why all this matters. If you come from a diverse background, you may feel as though there is little hope for USD to ever reach the level of diversity as other college campuses do. If you come from a sheltered background, you may feel as though diversifying the campus would cause unwanted changes to our school.
Whatever you believe, it is an issue that affects all of us because some level of diversity is vital to an academic community in order to prepare us for the global world outside the walls of our classrooms.
The world is full of people with different beliefs, opinions and backgrounds and those differences are what enrich academic, social and business settings.
Having lived in Hong Kong for some of my high school years, I am proof of the importance of open-mindedness and acceptance of other cultures.
In my time as a student at Hong Kong International School, I found that people from all different backgrounds have something unique to bring to a discussion or project.
After later being a part of the working community in Hong Kong as an intern at KPMG China, I found that I had many ideas that were different from those of the local Chinese that worked there and the combination of those ideas led to improvements within the firm.
Although USD is not an international city like Hong Kong, there are people from all different backgrounds who come with all sorts of stories and ideas that they intend to share in order to improve our campus.
By encouraging and promoting acceptance and diversity at USD, we are allowing our campus to better itself.
Respecting, accepting and embracing the unique stories of people from all different demographics are the only ways to truly understand the importance of diversity at USD and across the rest of the world.