Could it be true? Have we finally grown out of that Mean Girls era from high school, where choosing a certain lunch table or wearing pink on the wrong day decides your fate? Out of the thirteen campuses within the University of Wisconsin system, University of Wisconsin-Parkside holds the award for the most diverse school with pride. However, the question remains: is UW-Parkside as “diverse” as it believes? With cultural centers such as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, the LGBTQ Resource Center, the Centers for Ethnic and International Studies, and quite a few clubs such as Latinos Unidos and the LGBTQ group, it would certainly appear so. Even the students are noticing! Students from Molinaro Hall to the Communication Arts building were ready to share their opinion.
“I love that I have talked with people from all over, with very diverse backgrounds, and I have never felt excluded,” claims Audreyanna Silvester. “We have many nontraditional students, and I believe that our diversity enables us to get out of the clique mentality of high school.”
Not everyone finds UW-Parkside to be one hundred percent open and welcoming, though: “I have noticed cliques, at least one based upon my major, and I do find that theatre seems to have its own clique…we have our own half of campus and I often see we all hang around with our own majors,” admits Haley Cotton, but she holds out hope: “But I know we in the theater department (generally speaking) are trying to find a way to make theatre more inclusive. To encourage others to join the drama club, to audition, because it’s something that everyone can be a part of.”
While some commuter students do not have the time or opportunity to participate in activities on campus, most still take notice of the hustle and bustle of what seems like a constant stream of cultural events. The celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month are fresh in everyone’s minds, and flyers pepper the walls and bulletin boards to keep it that way!
With the success of Hispanic Heritage Month in our wake, UW-Parkside is hosting its Study Abroad Fair on 3 October. Stay in a castle in Scotland! Go to Cuba next summer! Help increase diversity at foreign schools! Join a club, or just make a friend while waiting for coffee!
As UW-Parkside student Jared Wright said, “Especially at this point in our lives, there is little reason to leave someone out based on their interests.”
Article by Jennifer Schmidt