Diversity allows us to learn about and engage with different cultures and thought, which is an essential part of any college experience. Learning about different thought processes, ideas, beliefs, and cultures enables us to communicate more effectively and gain more perspectives on the world.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst has a wide range of diversity present on campus, with an undergraduate student body of more than 23,000 students. This allows for all students to be included and take part in learning about students from different ethnic and racial backgrounds. Whether it is going to campus wide events, joining an organization, or simply making new friends, UMass has something to offer to everyone.
Diversity within the student body:
UMass brings in students from different backgrounds and creates a safe space for diversity, including race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, and so much more. Students from many regions of the world can be found at UMass, making it vastly geographically diverse. International students make up 7.4% of the undergraduate student body. As a large state school, UMass enables students to get an excellent education while also letting us be involved in growing our exposure to global diversity.
In order to allow students to build their network and connect with others, UMass has many cultural centers. These range from cultural engagement to women’s leadership and religious centers.
CMASS is the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success. This center offers a space for students and faculty to gain support in areas ranging from academics to culture. It is a space students can go to express opinions about culture and diversity.
CWC is the Center for Women and Community. This center provides leadership opportunities, educational workshops, advocacy, and much more. This center empowers and supports women, and is a safe place for students to go to talk with support services.
The Stonewall Center supports students and advocates for LGBT and allied students. This center educates the campus and the local community about sexual and gender prejudice. They work to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all individuals to feel safe at UMass.
These are just a few of the vast amount of cultural centers UMass offers to students so everyone may be accepted, included, and represented across the student body.
Students on campus are able to take part in a variety of clubs and organizations that foster diversity. These are an excellent way to meet new individuals and to find a home away from home in the heart of campus.
These clubs include cultural associations, major related organizations, associations supporting advocacy for a variety of causes, and dance or a capella teams.
Here are just a few of a large list of diverse club UMass offers:
UMass has many Residential Communities, which offer a great network to find like-minded individuals for those students who are looking to connect with culture and identity. Residential Communities are living spaces for students to live among other students who share similar interests, backgrounds, and identities. These communities support personal growth and academic success.
Just to name a few of the Defined Residential Communities UMass offers:
Nuance: Multicultural Student Community
Asian/Asian American Student Community
Harambee: African/African American Student Community
Spectrum: LGBTQIA+ Student Community
Wellness Student Community
Kanonhsesne: Native American Student Community
El Barrio: Latinx Student Community
Applying to one of these communities could be a great way to immerse yourself into the diversity on campus life and build bonds with other students.
From fall to spring, campus is always offering events for students to participate in. These campus events give people an opportunity to learn about cultures and interact with people from other groups. These events are hosted by the many Registered Student Organizations and are open to all students to attend.
Cultural events can be found through the various organizations' social media accounts, flyers around campus, and UMass event listings. Through personal experience, these events are a great way to meet students and dive into the diverse scene campus offers. I was able to attend the Garbanghra held by the South Asian Student Association (SASA) on campus. This was an event put on for students to go and be able to do the traditional dance called Garba to celebrate a holiday and come together as a community. During this time in the year being away from home, this event allowed me to celebrate right from campus alongside other students of the same culture. These events are not exclusive and are open to any and all students. Participating in such events allow students to develop more understanding of other cultures and thoughts, which is essential to personal growth.
Diversity in the Classroom
UMass does not stop at the students to make sure everyone feels included in the community. Diversity is well represented in the UMass curriculum. As part of the General Education Requirement all undergraduate students are requited to take a Diversity in the United States and Global Diversity course prior to graduation. This part of the curriculum offers lots of opportunity for student growth in thought and learning about diversity on the global scale beyond the boundaries of campus.
Tip for UMass Students
UMass Amherst is a very welcoming community for all individuals, and makes the transition much smoother for first-year residents. There are ample opportunities for students to get involved with the diversity on campus and grow and learn both in thought and process. Don’t hesitate to join an organization that interests you!
From the students to the administration, UMass does its best at maintaining diversity and inclusion on campus. It makes the university a home to people from all corners of the world, and a platform to connect with others while undergoing personal growth.This is essential to any college career, and UMass makes sure their students are ready to enter the world and the workplace with the ability to respect and understand others.