Story by Larissa Wurm
Diversity. It’s a word heard often and something that Drake University strives for. Some say that they think diversity is something our campus does well at — some say they think it could be better.
“I don’t feel like I ever see Hispanics around Drake,” sophomore Raquel Rivera said.
Rivera said because she identifies as Latina, she sometimes notices being treated a little differently.
“When I tell them my name is Raquel, they are like ‘Oh my gosh, I had that name for my Spanish name in Spanish class,’” Rivera said. “Cool? Or because I speak fluent Spanish, it’s almost like they treat me like a dog and ask me to do a trick, say something in Spanish!”
Bensy Joseph, a sophomore, self-identified Indian, said she hasn’t felt like she is a minority.
“Growing up in a suburb really doesn’t make me feel like a minority,” Joseph said. “And coming to Drake really hasn’t made a difference. There are other Indian people on campus and we all tend to gravitate towards each other so I never feel alone or different.”
Rebecca Braun, a sophomore who identifies herself of Asian ethnicity, said she also doesn’t feel like she is minority on campus.
“I think it’s the fact that I’m used to being in a high density population of Caucasians,” Braun said. “I was adopted and raised in a high density Caucasian community all my life. Naturally coming to Drake, that mindset followed me. I guess I just don’t notice that I’m a different ethnicity.”
Sophomore Nazia Ashraful said she does feel like she is a minority because there are few South Asian students on Drake’s campus.
Ashraful said she does feel like she has been treated differently because of her religion.
“I’m a Muslim, so the stigma against Muslims sometimes leads to me being treated differently,” said Ashraful.
“I have heard that the Malaysians don’t feel very welcome,” Joseph said. “They all live together in Morehouse, which is understandable because then they can all be friends since the Drake campus isn’t so inviting.”
From a survey done by the university, Drake reported that there is an 11 percent minority rate on campus among our student population.
“From my experience being part of multicultural organizations, I know that our numbers are small compared to the rest of campus,” Ashraful said.
“Eleven percent is a lot to me for a small campus that is sitting in the Midwest,” Joseph said.
“To be honest, I thought coming to college I would be surrounded by a pool of people from different ethnic backgrounds,” Rivera said. “But turns out I’m surrounded by whites, which is not a bad thing at all, just not what I expected from what I see in movies.”
Drake tries to address diversity by bringing different speakers from different cultures to campus, having a vast array of different multicultural organizations on campus, and having a diversity senator on Student Senate to discuss on-campus diversity.
“Drake is a very loving campus and I feel as though there is something for everyone,” Rivera said.
“There are a lot of different groups on campus you can join and none of them are restricted to any races,” Rivera said. “Some just shine more light on a certain ethnic background than others, which is cool because you learn more about where you came from or where your friends came from.”
Ashraful suggested adding more advertising on campus for multicultural events to help minority students see they have a group to identify with.
“I think just advertise the multicultural groups more,” Braun said. “I know of some organizations. However, I know very little about what they do and important details like that.”
“(Drake) supports the multicultural organizations on campus,” Ashraful said. “They are treated as a necessary part of campus.”
“I think they are doing a great job now!” Rivera said. “I see a lot of programs posted everywhere to spread awareness about this and that and SAB (Student Activities Board) always has great events that relate to attract everyone and anyone.”