6 Reasons Why College Campus Diversity Matters
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We live in a world that embraces countless cultures and ethnic identities. A vital element in becoming a global citizen is being able to live, study, and work in a diverse environment. Students from colleges all over the world are being prepared daily for the challenges and opportunities that await them in our global society. But what’s the importance in attending a college that facilitates diversity? We gathered the reasons why diversity matters on college campuses.
1. Diversity Promotes Active Engagement
Students’ experiences with diversity range considerably. In some cases, campus may be the first place students interact with people from other backgrounds. It’s also often an environment that promotes participation in multicultural experiences. The definition of diversity itself can vary and may manifest differently depending on the campus.
It’s important to assess the multicultural climate when looking at colleges. Students should search for ways in which they can engage with the world. There is tremendous importance in exchanging experiences with others to help expand our own perspectives and give us greater understanding.
2. Diversity Enhances Self-Awareness
Although students arrive on college campuses with their perspectives well-formed from their individual upbringings, their opinions are often still malleable. Their sense of self-knowledge can often be sharpened with exposure to, and close contact with, those whose life experiences are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Engaging in conversation with those whose opinions, customs, and personal lifestyles differ from your own can increase your self-insight. This type of exposure is what’s necessary to make informed decisions.
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3. Diversity Creates Global Citizens
In an academic community, diversity is essential. Students who submerse themselves in diverse environments are exposed to a range of insights, opinions, and backgrounds that enrich their minds and create wider perspectives with which to view themselves and the world we live in. Most college classrooms are a medley of ethnicities, religions, and cultures. Interaction with a varied group of people – both students and academics – will open the eyes of generations to come. Together, students are able to find their voices, reflect on current issues, and bring a vibrancy to dialogue in the classroom.
4. Diversity Sustains Integration
Beyond the classroom, it is crucial to witness diversity on campus as more than a community composed of independent groups. As global citizens, we are united in ways that link intercultural gaps. College campuses offer unique opportunities to engage with groups and cultures that may challenge previously held assumptions and advance understanding. Intercultural programming on many campuses begins with a variety of cultural centers that help retain students of color, encourage awareness for cultural diversity, and provide social and academic resources. These cultural centers help sustain the integrity of the academic experience on campus by enlightening students’ minds to different cultures, traditions, and values through campus-wide affairs and programming.
5. Diversity Creates Problem-Solvers
A study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that ideas generated by diverse teams were of better quality in terms of feasibility and effectiveness. The research showed that critical analysis and suggested solutions were more nuanced when they came from diverse teams. They also noticed that input from individuals with diverse backgrounds offered alternatives to problems that weren’t previously raised.
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6. Diversity Promotes Open-Mindedness
Being open-minded to engaging with others — whether through participation in fraternity and sorority organizations, spiritual life, or one of the many cultural student groups — is essential to understanding what diversity means in the 21st Century. Campus life is an eye-opener for many students. It’s the first taste of freedom and an unfiltered view of the real world. Witnessing such diversity in a college environment enriches young minds, thereby strengthening innate creativity. This helps to lay the groundwork for global engagement before students transition to their chosen careers.