Achieving diversity an uphill battle

by The Simpsonian

Diversity is something that every college and university strives for. It allows students of different backgrounds to experience new things simply through interaction with others.

Simpson College has taken steps to procure this type of learning environment. The fact remains, however, that our minority population is a mere shadow of what it was in the 1970s. Are we not working hard enough to develop a diverse student body? What are we missing?

Whether we like it or not, there are two very concrete factors that impede the ability of Simpson College to substantially raise its percentage of minority students.

Simpson College is located in the middle of Iowa, not exactly the Mecca of cultural diversity. Save for Des Moines, there is not another city with a sizeable minority population within a hundred miles. Many black students choose colleges at these cities, such as Drake and the University of Iowa, due to their inevitably large numbers of minority students. We simply can’t compete with that.

Another factor hurting our chances is the fact that Simpson is one of more than a dozen small colleges in Iowa that offer similar programs in similar settings. All of these small colleges are all actively recruiting the same minority students in the same area. Think of it as many fishermen all casting into the same small pond for a tiny number of fish.

True, colleges like Dubuque and Loras have larger numbers of minority students; however, one must not overlook the proximity to large urban areas along the Mississippi and, to a certain extent, Chicago. Their higher percentages of minority students is directly correlated to their location.

Take advantage of the few opportunities to experience diversity during Black History Month, whether it be at a forum or through simple conversation. The lessons we can learn through embracing a new culture can enrich our lives more than you may know.