Diversity in Oswego State has been rising gradually over the past five years. Since fall 2008, there has been a consistent increase in the attendance of African-American and Latino students at the college.
In 2008, walking among 89.2 percent of white students were 3.8 percent black and 3.7 percent Latino students. In 2010, 82.5 percent of the student population was white, 4.2 was black and 5.8 was Latino. For the current school year, 81.7 percent of students are white, 5.2 percent are black and 7.6 percent are Latino.
Diversity seemed to be growing slowly, but steadily at Oswego State and plenty of the students here agree.
The Black Student Union is a club on campus that, along with other cultural organizations, tries to help promote diversity as much as they can, according to Ronette Wright, the president of the club.
“When I first arrived here I was able to always see the separations and particular cliques all throughout campus,” Wright said. “It was especially noticeable in Cooper dining hall. There would majority of one race on one side and another race on the opposite side. This is not the case now, so I feel Oswego is getting better with that.”
Connected to Cooper dining hall is Hart Hall, which is the Global Living and Learning Center on campus. It is home to the majority of the international students who come to Oswego State.
“I believe what Hart Hall does with their International Studies programs, should be adopted by some of the other dorms, so that students are put in a position to learn about other walks of life,” Justin Brantley, director of finance for BSU, said.
With Hart Hall promoting diversity as well, Oswego State is on its way to creating a diverse environment. There are even events being put on all over campus by many of the cultural organizations related to diversity.
“There are many organizations that are under the African, Latino, Asian, Native American or ALANA umbrella that have meetings daily in order to bring students together in social as well as educational programs/events,” Brantley said. “Events such as the Variety Show, May-Day, and Pan-Africa truly show how diverse our community is and bring light to the different art expressions.”
ALANA makes an effort to bring all races on campus together, but it may not be getting through to everyone.
“It seems that students who are not of color have no interest or true understanding of ALANA programs and events,” Chelsea Hamlet, director of correspondence for BSU, said. “It seems as though they think that since they are not Black, Latino, Asian, African or Caribbean these programs are not benefiting to them. Quite the contrary—one of the reasons why these organizations exist is to educate the entire campus about different cultures and perspectives. I believe if more people were open to learning about different cultures and narratives on campus, diversity or lack of diversity would not be such an issue. It would be a stronger component of campus life.”
With all of this student involvement on campus, faculty input is also needed to help aid the campus on its road to diversity.
“I would like to see a larger number of professors and administrators add more Black, Latino, Asian, African and Caribbean narratives to their course curriculum,” Hamlet said. “There are two sides to every story including history, literature, science, math and media.”
Oswego State’s racial diversity is increasing every year. Oswego State students and some of the faculty are coming together to promote awareness to everyone.