Discussion offers diversity insight

posted in: Student Life | 0

Can you imagine Pacific University as only Caucasian students? Would that effect how you experience your education? Learn more about this idea means to you.

Willamette University Professor Emily Drew will be facilitating a discussion on the future of Oregon’s racial diversity Feb. 21. This event is part of a series of discussions sponsored by the Oregon Humanities.

After the successful turn out of students participating in a series of diversity forums sociology and psychology professors’ organized last term, Pacific applied to be a host this discussion.

“This is one avenue to bring speakers to campus that are a part of a larger focus and are able to facilitate a conversation about a topic that students have shown a strong interest in,” said Assistant Director of Student Life Pete Erschen.

Oregon is becoming more racially diverse, but it remains one of the whitest states of the nation according to the 2010 census data. This trend is reflected in the students at Pacific that come from Oregon. Pacific has taken many steps towards creating an inclusive campus to all ethnic backgrounds through the diversity offices, the university’s diversity plan and many student organizations driven to creating a welcoming environment to different cultural backgrounds.

Alongside the many of the strides Pacific makes towards including the diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds that attend, it also conducts an annual Diverse Learning Environment Survey to sophomores and juniors to measure the differences between races on campus.

“There have been differences on survey research the university has done that says that students of different ethnic backgrounds experience this campus differently,” said Erschen.

The Activities and Cultural Events Board, Student Activities and Multicultural Interests, the Diversity Office and Oregon Humanities sponsored the discussion. Students are also involved in organizing the event, hoping to give attendees the opportunity to expose themselves to, discuss and become informed of the different perspectives of the race of the state.

“Making our campus a more welcoming and inclusive place can’t just be on one person. It has to be everyone’s responsibility,” said Erschen. “We do a lot to include different races and cultures but there is always huge room for improvement.”

“White Out?: The Future of Oregon’s Racial Diversity” will be held at 6 p.m. in the Pulse in the University Center. This event is free and open to the public.


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