As exemplified by the Pierce College mission statement, Pierce strives to create not only a diverse student body but a diverse community of learners to thrive in an evolving world.
With one of the main focuses on the campus being to instigate multicultural awareness, the college promotes diverse activities; but it’s truly the students who make a diverse campus.
The students are those who the events, programs and activities are intended to effect.
Due to this, the college develops events that address the diverse interests of the campus and the surrounding community.
With a student population consisting of 32 percent ethnic minorities, 3 percent disabled students and 223 international students, it’s important that the school includes events that pertain to cultural and social issues, a variety of sexual orientations, religious affiliations and ethnic backgrounds.
“Ethnic studies allows students to get a higher education,” said Evelynn Hu Dehart, professor and chair of the department of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “You are educated (in this major) to be a citizen, to live in a democracy, and be part of this global environment.”
While a multicultural frame of mind cannot be forced upon a person, studies have contended that students who interact with a diverse student body will be more motivated and better able to participate in a heterogeneous and complex society. This frame of mind does not apply to all
Critics of multicultural education worry that a focus on identities based on race, ethnicity, gender, class or other social categorizations are inimical to the unity needed to have a strong community.
Many worry that if so much emphasis is placed on being politically correct when pertaining to an ethnic identity the populace will fail to identify a person by their character and temperament. A person will no longer be that individual, instead only a member of an ethnic identity.
Critics of democratic citizenship education that ignore the public in an exclusive emphasis on a single unity worry that young people will be ill-prepared to be citizens and leaders of an increasingly ethnically and racially diverse nation. It is this focus on preventing a one sided view to diversity that causes the college to provide opportunities for students to become incorporated into these diverse groups. Helping students come to the realization that although there are many diverse groups at Pierce College, they are all students and people.
Events such as the Multicultural fair and fashion show and the ongoing Conversation Partners program give students opportunities to become aware of the diversity of their campus. Students may also become aware that they are the members of the foreign culture to the 223 international students who attend Pierce College.
Norwegian student Monica Andreassen Lynge explained that she came to the U.S. to learn about the American culture and to improve her English.
“I really have a lot of good memories from this quarter, and I would recommend any student to learn about as many cultures as possible, because it really makes you look at things differently and it opens your eyes to the world and all the wonderful people that are in it,” she said.
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