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The Diversity Team approaches education and awareness from a number of perspectives

A university can be as diverse as the students and faculty that learn and teach within it. To create a more diverse campus, steps can be made to create a more inclusive campus. This process of inclusion can be especially difficult when there aren’t groups advocating and educating both students and faculty about these marginalized groups, which is where the Washington State University Vancouver Student Diversity Team comes in.

The team works both on campus and within the surrounding community to educate and promote inclusion on campus for all students. The Student Diversity Team holds events that invite potential students of diverse backgrounds to the campus to not only learn about available opportunities, but also hear from both current students and faculty about their individual experiences. On campus, the team is devoted to ensuring that both current and future students of diverse backgrounds enrolling at WSU Vancouver will have the continued support from programs that help them succeed.

According to 2013 data the enrollment of racial and ethnic minorities has increased over the years, but it does not take into account other groups that experience systemic oppression. The Student Diversity Team works to promote equal treatment of all people by holding events that provide education and information to specific groups of individuals as well as events that target every individual. One event that involves educating and informing a specific group is Noche de Familia, where Hispanic K-12 students and their families are invited from the community to learn about “preparing for college, paying for college and challenges concerning students and families,” according to the team website. Another recent event that focused on informing all students on campus was V-Day, where students including Student Diversity Team members read monologues from women who experienced violence in their lives. The point of which was to promote discussions and awareness about the violence towards women in society.

Cesar Moreno, a student and Diversity Team member, was asked about the importance of diversity. In response, Moreno said, “Diversity is important because when we look at different groups in society that experience oppression in some way or another, we find that even though we are different we share a lot of difficulties. We are oppressed by the same systems and so we need to collaborate and work together as a community to get rid of that because we experience essentially the same problem, but it is expressed in different ways.”

Shain Wright, a student and another member of the Diversity Team, said, “If we are only ever looking at things from one perspective, then how can anything change or grow? Diversity is more than just your skin color, or your sexual orientation, or your gender, there is diversity within every perspective. Somebody growing up in poverty is going to have a completely different perspective on something than somebody growing up in a very affluent community.”

Moreno and Wright also stated that, for students interested in future positions on the Student Diversity Team they need to know it is in not about free food or the paycheck. The Student Diversity Team requires passionate individuals who not only wish to work towards creating a more diverse community but are able and willing to educate themselves in order to make the community more inclusive for others. For students interested in learning more about diversity on campus and adding their voices to the community, stop by the Diversity desk in OSI and have a conversation with one of the Diversity Team staff to get involved.

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