Embrace Diversity! (Wait, what does diversity mean?)
On college campuses nationwide, students are encouraged to embrace diversity the moment they arrive. But what does that even mean? In the Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Emmanuel College, we define diversity as the differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, religion, and many other aspects of human identity. We celebrate the differences in all people and we believe human beings are our best when we seek to learn from one another’s experiences. If you are curious about how you can embrace diversity, here are some suggestions:
Attend lectures, programs and events covering topics you’re unfamiliar with. Academic departments and student organizations frequently invite guests to campus! Sit in on a visiting lecturer while she discusses her research in another country, watch a dancer move to the music of his community at a cultural celebration, or join an organization that addresses issues you want to learn more about.
Visit local restaurants, stores and neighborhoods in Boston. One of the advantages of being in a place like Boston is the proximity to the thousands of different cultures represented in the city. Enjoy restaurants serving food from different parts of the world. Find gorgeous parks and landmarks to visit in any of Boston’s unique neighborhoods. Students and professionals from every country on Earth learn, work, live, and play in the city of Boston, so experience the city’s magnetism for yourself!
Build meaningful connections with people from different backgrounds. If a student enrolls in a college looking to foster relationships with people who look and think like them, we believe they are missing a major opportunity! Building friendships with people from different communities helps us grow. Also, these relationships and connections may be valuable after college as diverse networks often lead to more career opportunities!
Listen to each other. Share your story. Develop empathy and compassion. Listening to other people’s stories is essential to embracing diversity. Finding spaces to share experiences and build trust leads to greater empathy. The human experience is most powerful when people discover their shared experiences as opposed to dwelling on their differences.
Maintain mutual respect. Eliminate discrimination, intolerance and hate. As we strive to embrace diversity, we must ensure that we all respect each other’s differences and experiences. Members from our community come from many places and it is important to understand that we are not always going to agree on everything! However, it is even more important to establish that no one will be disrespected, belittled or discriminated against in our community for any reason. Discrimination, intolerance, and hate have no place on our campus.
Need more advice on how to embrace diversity? Do you have tips and ideas to share with us? Stop by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion located in Marian Hall 222. All are welcome!