Oct 122008
 
Authors: Bob Kunstman

Have you heard statements on campus such as “I wish CSU was more diverse,” or “I wish I could connect with people that are different from me?” You may have even heard the opposite idea — “CSU is the most diverse place I have ever been to.”

When exploring issues of multiculturalism on our campus, it is quickly easy to recognize the lack of diversity that is present at CSU.

According to the enrollment statistics for Fall 2007, CSU’s population of students of color is a little over 13 percent. This includes undergraduate students who self-identify as Black, African-American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Pacific Islander, and/or Hispanic. In addition, 16 percent of the 2,784 students are first-time, first-year degree-seeking students.

Many departments on campus have worked hard to create an atmosphere of inclusivity and growth for our students. For instance, according to its Web site, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity is “committed to enhancing diversity in all its forms to ensure an educational environment that is reflective of all aspects of our society.”

The Ethnic Studies Department has a curriculum focused on “challenging the paradigms that systematically marginalize the experience of diverse populations.”

The GUIDE Office within Housing & Dining Services focuses on involvement, diversity and education.

The College of Business offers workshops every month to prepare students for the world they will meet outside of CSU. The Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office offers trainings and retreats that also focus on diversity, multicultural issues, social justice and many more unique opportunities.

These are just a few of the many options that CSU has to offer.

We are surrounded by many opportunities at CSU, but how often do we step outside of our comfort zone and step into our learning zone? With so many programs around us, challenge yourself, try something new and be confident that a bigger world will open in front of you.

If you find yourself ready to face this challenge, one such opportunity before you is the Student of Color Leadership Retreat that takes place Oct. 18. This event is open to ALL students on campus.

The purpose of SoCLR is to strengthen cross-cultural communication and relationships across campus, dialogue about issues of diversity, and work for social change. SoCLR is a daylong event designed to fortify participants in leadership roles here on campus and beyond, to focus on shared experiences, and to critically examine various issues and isms that relate to living in a multicultural and diverse community.

These goals are accomplished through community building and personal reflection exercises that help students identify as social change agents and a closing reception that is open to participants of the retreat and members of our campus community who want to network with students, staff, faculty of color and allies. Registration forms are available in SLiCE Office.

Remember that this is just one of the many opportunities CSU does have to offer you. It is up to you to take advantage of them.

If you want to learn more about what CSU has, drop by the SLiCE office, and we will be more than happy to sit down and discuss your options.

Bobby Kunstman is the assistant director of the SLiCE office. Sean Reed’s column will return next Monday. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegain.com.

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