As a student that has been enrolled at Oswego State for four years now, there’s a lot that I notice. I don’t really say much, but there are a lot that people fail to mention. Sometimes I question if it is because they have better things to do or because they just don’t care at all. One thing that I have noticed that has bothered me all these years is segregation on campus. When all is said and done, we are not all equal in each other’s eyes and that is one thing students make very clear.
Segregation is not just one act, but the many habits of students that surround us on a daily basis. We segregate ourselves and it’s like we don’t even know it or are just blind to the fact. I look at the students on campus going to class, and every day I witness the same thing. It begins with the segregated dormitory living environment. If you look thoroughly at the campus, you will see that we divide ourselves through the means of nationality. In central campus, Hart Hall and Funelle Hall, you see a minority ratio including African Americans, Latinos, Chinese, Indians, etc. Then, when you look at west campus and the east side of campus, you predominantly see students of Caucasian descent.
Why do we do this to ourselves? We are not forced to stay in these dorms among the same crowd of people. We could differentiate ourselves, but we choose not to. This is something that we are comfortable with and we’d rather be a part of. Sadly, this is not the only example of segregation that exists on campus. It goes much deeper, too, to dining halls, parties and events. When you go to a dining hall, what do you see? You see all sorts of students spread around the tables but you don’t see them together. Everyone is separated into their own cliques, usually by their background nationality. I see Latinos eating with Latinos, African Americans with African Americans, foreign with foreign and Caucasian with Caucasian, and so on. I am the type of person who doesn’t discriminate against anybody. So when I witness something like this, I become fed up.
After four years, I am fed up with it. This has been happening my entire college career. When I go to events on campus, like ALANA meetings with Black Student Union, Caribbean Student Union and Two and a Half, I barely see anyone other than African Americans and Latinos. Why don’t we support each other? Just because the name says “Black Student Union” doesn’t mean nobody else is allowed to attend the meetings. It just means, for example, that we, as black students, are making ourselves available to educate our fellow students on our culture. Many are unfamiliar because they don’t take the time out to learn about each other and the background in which we come from.
Last time I checked, we are all students at the same university with the same goals. We see each other on a daily basis, and yet we are so far apart from each other. When it comes to cultural events, people don’t even show love and support unless it’s convenient for them.
I attended a party this past weekend titled “Radiant Productions, Sophisticated Ladies, and Senorita Entertainment Trilogy.” This was a party thrown on campus by three separate Latina organizations merged together for the benefit of a wholesome weekend. A lot of students complain that “there is nothing to do in Oswego,” but when someone throws an event, nobody shows support. We are all one-student body, and it’s time we start realizing that.
It is one thing when you can’t afford to attend a party or you have school priorities you need to attend but it is another when you just don’t want to show up. As a Latino myself, it is very unfortunate to see these women dedicate their time and efforts for the campus but get nothing in return. I always see Latinos supporting everything, but at that party there was barely a total of 20 students in attendance. I felt for these girls, and I feel for my campus. We need more unity when it comes to events, parties, campus living, and just respect for one another. There should be no reason why any person thinks he/she is better than the next. If one group of people supports the next, then we should all support each other.
In life, nobody gets anywhere without some type of support or recognition. It’s time we open our mouths and voice our opinions because if we don’t approach this now, who knows what the future will hold. If it takes one person to voice this matter, then so be it. It’s time we bring not just diversity to the campus but equality. With equality, not only will we accomplish more as a student body, but we will understand the struggle that makes us different and one in the same.