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Committing to contribute to diversity on campus

Julianna Eveland

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Julianna Eveland

Cultural diversity is a beautiful thing.

It’s something I see on campus every day at Chico State. It’s also something that can be easily overlooked.

I know a few people who think that Chico is filled with a bunch of white people. From a bird’s-eye view, it very well might look like that.

When I take in Chico State’s campus atmosphere, it transcends color, creed and race — it’s an enlightened sense of unity.

A beautiful sign of this unity projected itself all over campus Monday.

Dozens of students involved with the Great Prophet Mohammed Association offered white and red roses to passing students.

A message of peace and love was attached to the roses.

Chico State does a great job of soaking up every bit of culture international and local students have to offer.

With students from 49 states and 66 nations, there are opportunities from study abroad to English as a second language programs that help students, foreign or not, reach out to one another.

As someone who has already studied abroad I understand what it’s like to be in unfamiliar territory, not knowing exactly how to fit in or who to fit in with.

I’ve barely reached out or gotten to know people who come from outside the U.S. until recently, when a teacher wrote a comment on an assignment that stuck with me.

“You should sell your international experience. I looked up your high school because I was curious. Saudi Arabia and Switzerland? That makes you more interesting than the average college student.”

Illustration by Darian Maroney.

Illustration by Darian Maroney.

After I read this I finally realized that even though my story differs from my friends’, there are people on campus I can connect with who share similar experiences.

Instead of keeping my worldliness in the shadows, I should use it to reach out to others who might be feeling the same way I did.

It’s easy to stay within a clique because the grunt work has already been done. In thinking, “Hey, this person is like me and I can relate to them,” I limit myself to those in my immediate circle.

I’m going to get out of my comfort zone and try to meet people who can teach me something different.

I’d like to hear traditions explained, be taught dance moves and learn all the bad swear words in different languages.

I want to hear firsthand stories of how someone’s experience in Chico has differed from mine based on their cultural norms.

I’ll start with seeking only by the parallel that we are just humans, instead of looking for differences.

Maya Angelou once said, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

 

I’ve been an observer of culture and diversity, now it’s time to immerse myself in the beautiful culture that makes Chico State the melting pot it is.

Julianna Eveland can be reached at [email protected] or @janeca12 on Twitter.

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Committing to contribute to diversity on campus