How To Make Minorities Feel Like They Belong At Fordham

Deeper+Dialogues+is+a+program+at+Fordham+that+promotes+diversity+on+campus.+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29
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How To Make Minorities Feel Like They Belong At Fordham

Deeper Dialogues is a program at Fordham that promotes diversity on campus. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Deeper Dialogues is a program at Fordham that promotes diversity on campus. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Deeper Dialogues is a program at Fordham that promotes diversity on campus. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Deeper Dialogues is a program at Fordham that promotes diversity on campus. (Courtesy of Twitter)

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By Pamela Alvarez-Macabu

 

As a first generation Latina college student, I was initially excited to attend college because I was going to the school of my dreams. However, when I came to Fordham I was in for a real surprise. It was not at all what I expected. I thought it would be like my high school where students from various cultures and backgrounds intermingled. Instead, I felt out of place.

As a Latina, more often than not I was one of a few people of color in a class. I found that I could not relate to my white peers because they came from a culture and a background much different than mine.

According to Fordham’s student demographics, 59 percent of the students are white, 4 percent are black and 14 percent are Hispanic. These alarming statistics are an indication of the lack of diversity at Fordham.

When you have a campus that comes from a predominately white and wealthy background and students of color are a minority, it can be hard for intermingling to occur. Students of color often feel out of place or like they don’t belong.

Kayla Velez, FCRH ’19, said, “Since the university is predominately white, there is a feeling of being lost in a crowd you can’t really relate to.”

Despite the lack of diversity and inclusion, there are various resources available on campus to help minorities feel like they belong on campus. One of them is the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which offers a variety of programs to help minorities.

For one, you can join a cultural club or one that speaks to your identity. If you ever feel like you don’t belong on campus, the various clubs and organizations available on campus are great ways to find individuals who share the same culture and/or identity. From taking bachata classes at El Grito de Lares or attending spirit day, there are events where you can meet and interact with people like yourself. Finding a community can be crucial to one’s self esteem and identity.

Fordham also offers training workshops and network programs that are designed to help promote discussions about race and help minorities feel welcome on campus.

It involves diversity training for several student leaders to obtain positions such as: orientation leaders, commuter assistants, resident assistants and Ram Van drivers. The racial solidarity network program happens in November and February. Those are programs open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.

Solidarity is a huge component towards racial inclusion, and it starts with both the institution and the student body.

Whether you are a person of color or not, having the opportunity to help make others feel like they too belong on campus is not only rewarding but can help improve the racial climate on campus.

Deeper Dialogues, another opportunity, is another program available on campus that helps to promote awareness on diversity and inclusion. It is comprised of “three weekly sessions for an hour and a half time period with a group of 10 participants discussing a main topic related to social justice.”

They take place on a monthly basis and are done in collaboration with a number of different clubs. This is yet another opportunity on campus available to help expand conversations on race and racial injustices. As college students, there are always opportunities to expand our minds and our knowledge.

The Diversity Peer Leader Program is similar to Deeper Dialogues in which a couple students, about five or six, from each campus are trained to talk about diversity, social justice, oppression and inclusion. Matos adds, “In those training programs we have people think about their own identity and think about the impact of those things, privilege.

The second half is us preparing them to have these conversations with incoming students.” Like Deeper Dialogues, it is a great opportunity to help create awareness about racial issues on campus and help incoming students feel at ease.

For those who often struggle to feel included or represented on campus, remember that you are not the only one. And that there are various resources on campus.

Personally, having friends who were also Latino made my experience at Fordham a lot better.

 

 

Pamela Alvarez-Macabu, FCRH ’19, is an English major from Queens, New York.