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The University of Colorado Boulder has taken pride in calling itself a diverse campus in accords to summits, speakers and students. Despite this, it is sometimes hard to see this diversity while walking through campus on a normal day. The opportunities offered for students with different interests and backgrounds has been positive, but needs to increase to create a more inclusive atmosphere.
Coming from out of state, especially from a state as small as Rhode Island, was an adjustment my freshmen year. My hometown is quaint and lacks significant diversity. Knowing this, I chose to attend a regional high school that pulled students from all towns, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Immediately I was immersed in a setting far more diverse than I experienced before. This diversity was extremely beneficial for my understanding and acceptance of people. For example, my best friend is Cambodian and I was able to learn much about her culture and how her family came to be in the United States. I was in classes and extracurricular activities with students of various backgrounds and the idea of diversity was promoted daily to make us understanding and accepting of one another.
Shortly after arriving on the University of Colorado Boulder campus, I noticed the difference in diversity from my high school. Although a large state school, the majority is still Caucasian. Thankfully my dorm was small and somewhat diverse, so I was exposed to international students as well as students of other ethnicities whom I became friends with. This past fall a friend invited me to an event hosted by one of her ethnic clubs. I was surprised by the large number of people there, but also surprised that a majority of the campus did not know this event was occurring. It made me think about the other numerous ethnic student groups that people know nothing about.
CU is very good at having numerous clubs tailored to specific ethnicities and diversities, but lacks in forming large organizations or clubs that bring these individual groups together. In order to increase the diversity on campus and get students meeting other people, CU needs to create more clubs, activities or even required freshmen seminar classes that focus on diversity among students. Many small liberal arts colleges have freshmen seminar classes required by all students to participate in that focus on various topics. If CU were able to find a way to create this, it would promote inclusiveness from the beginning of students’ college experiences. The school prides itself on the annual Diversity Summit and the various speakers that attend, but is lacking in creating the student experiences that will promote understanding and acceptance for other students and faculty. The diversity on campus has been positive, and would grow if something like this were put in place. Through this I believe CU would be more appealing to prospective students, and overall create an inclusive and diverse campus.
Corinne Baud is a CU Boulder student and guest contributor to the CUI. This piece was originally written for a Strategic Writing in PR class.