i Diversity is Necessary | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Ruby Castillo

College is not only about getting an education but also to experience new things. In order to achieve this, college campuses must have diversity. Diversity is important because it allows for an increase in knowledge and helps in the preparation of future careers. Yet, according to the school website, St. Norbert only has a nine percent racially diverse community, three percent international student community and an eighty- nine percent Caucasian community. Schools that are affiliated with religion are allowing for diverse populations to happen. When schools do not allow diversity into their doors, they are asking for trouble. Racism is more likely to occur against students. This can cause student to leave or to choose not to go there. Which leaves a college with less money. I believe that St. Norbert does not have enough diversity at this school and they have programs that are helping to slowly increase it but they need to have a lot more diversity.

Diversity is important on a college campus because it allows for a student to get and educational experience. A diverse community allows students to put themselves in the shoes of minorities when they learn about other cultures. According to a professor of Eastern Kentucky University named Aaron Thompson, he believes diversity prepares students for the future and that they are able to think outside of the box. Many usually have never interacted with minorities, so they only know about their own cultures. Making friends with minorities allows for one to gain an insight into different perspectives that another student offers. They are more educated about issues going on. It helps one think about how one has dealt with something and can in turn help you find a solution to a problem.

SNC is a private liberal arts college that is expensive to attend. Most minorities end up not going to college since it is expensive. This is because they are the most disadvantaged financially. When they have no money or help to pay for school, they join the labor force where it usually pays only the minimum wage and get no higher education. This leaves the minority population to not attend school therefor leaving a college campus with a very low minority population. In a study conducted by Richard Kahlenberg, students who are not financially secure are twenty- five times less likely to go to good schools compared to those who are financially stable. Students who are at a financial advantage go to school and therefore make up most of the schools population and the educated population in the world. The minorities do not get an education, contributing to a less educated population. According to Sophia Kerby who writes about the importance of diversity, “by 2050 one in two workers will be a person of color.” This means that soon there will be more interracial marriages leading to more diverse backgrounds. Therefore it is important to educate minorities to create a more educated population.

A way to allow more diversity onto campuses is to provide more financial aid that does not have to be paid back, like scholarships or grants. This would allow a student from a low income family to go to school to get an education. They would not have to worry about paying huge amount of money for an education and put the burden on their family’s shoulders. Therefore they can get a good education in order to get a good job and break out of the cycle of minorities not going on to college. St. Norbert does offer a lot of financial aid that does not have to be paid back yet looking at their website a lot of it is for Wisconsin residents. According to the Wisconsin government census, there is an eighty- two percent white population just in the state of Wisconsin alone, showing that there is not much diversity. So students who come from other states are not eligible for this help.

Introducing more programs that bring minorities together would also help attract diversity to the school. St. Norbert has a program called S.T.A.R. It stands for students taking academic responsibility. It is for students with a multicultural background. These are the kinds of programs that students would benefit from.  This corporation develops strategies to help overcome the challenges that students face in college. Some of these services are advising, tutoring, mentoring, career exploration assistance and placement in structured learning communities. This program is designed to help increase re-enrollment rates compared to other students. Introducing these kinds of programs might cost a school money but if there are companies that five grants then it can be done. This program has gotten grants from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. S.T.A.R. was awarded a $72,875 grant so first and second year multicultural and first generation college students can adjust better to their new environment and can overcoming challenges they may face. The students that are in the STAR program develop a close bond. We have Sunday night dinners every week and meetings every Wednesday night where we are informed of different things about the school. More schools should have these kinds of programs because they are very helpful. I met some great friends and knew where to find help when classes actually started.

Places that are welcoming experience a growth in diversity. Religious schools saw less diversity on their campuses than other schools. In an article written by Elizabeth Redden, “Christian college administrators attribute the increases to conscious efforts to diversify their campuses, including through connections with black churches and through the establishment of new programs that disproportionately attract minority students.” This has been the cause to their diversity increase. The students see that they are welcome and that there are programs for them that are interesting. Christian colleges have seen a big increase in African American enrollment in their schools. In Belhaven College, the population has grown 25 percent and in Le Tourneau a seventeen percent increase. Their efforts have obviously worked because of the dramatic increase of African American student enrollment after these things were done.

In conclusion, diversity is an important thing to have at a college. St. Norbert has done things to slowly increase diversity on campus but their diversity is not big enough yet. They should make more efforts in bringing in more programs and financial aid so that more minorities would want to come here.

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