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Diversity: Student Perspectives

Aaliyah Stewart
Patterson, LA
Aaliyah Stewart

Major(s): Psychology and Philosophy Minor(s): Sociology

Diversity means representation. Having people in all positions so there can be an apparent feeling of acceptance and inclusion. Tulane has taught me that diversity encompasses more than just gender and race, but also many other aspects of a person’s life. At Tulane I feel most a part of the black and first generation student communities. On campus I am involved with the Black Student Union, Student Learning Assistants, and Housing and Residence Life. I have felt most supported on campus by the Office of Multicultural Affairs—it has been somewhat of a safe haven to me. If I ever feel as if there is nowhere to go or no one to look to, I know there is always supportive people there.

Anna Mattamana
North Salem, NY
Anna Mattamana

Major: Finance

The diverse heritage of the city coupled with its diverse population is what makes New Orleans the quirky and unique city it is. I have seen forms of inclusion and acceptance in this city that I have never witnessed before in my life. Interacting with people of different backgrounds brings new information to the table and helps facilitate collaboration. This exposure will better prepare me for the future and better me as a person.

On campus I am involved in the Residence Hall Association and the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). I have always felt accepted by both the general student body and minority communities on campus. I firmly believe that the importance of intersectional feminism needs to be stressed and that student organizations that rely on leaders must be diverse in order to represent our ever-changing student body. Diversity is more than the appearance of an individual, it includes the values, morals, and experiences of each individual. 

Antonio Milton
Carencro, LA
Antonio Milton

Major(s): Political Science Minor(s): Philosophy

On campus I am involved with the Black Student Union—an organization that partakes in programming that promotes socializing between black students on campus. The Office of Multicultural Affairs (The “O) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) have supported me the most on campus. The O sponsors great programming to help all students, not just minorities, to connect with one another and engage in dialogue. CAPS provided me with support through rough times, especially on a campus where I don't look like most of the people around me.

I believe that exposure to different backgrounds and ways of thinking supplements my development as a student and as a person. Diversity means much more than physically coming from different places across the map. It means that I can learn a lot more in a much different fashion if I went to school in a place where everyone had the same story. I think that by and large I will view people and the real world in a much different way. By getting exposure to different perspectives and learning styles I have learned a lot more in my one year at Tulane than I would have at any of the other universities I was considering. Not only does my experience here at Tulane remind me to be more mindful during interactions with people; it also supports my pursuit to learn more about people and their traditions, languages, arts, and much more.

Pearl Dalla
Natick, MA
Pearljot Dalla

Major(s): Neuroscience, Cognitive Studies, and Philosophy

Diversity to me means having representation for all walks of life, from race to sexual orientation to socioeconomic levels and so forth. Representation matters. Seeing people who look like you excel matters because not being included in that narrative makes opportunities feel inaccessible otherwise. Living in New Orleans has helped me with more tangible experiences and examples of the intersectionality of diversity.

On campus I feel most a part of the queer and antiracist communities. I am involved in Students Organizing Against Racism (SOAR), The Gender and Sexuality Advisory Council, Queer Student Alliance, Queer Feminist Collective, Gender Exploration Society, and Minority Association of Pre-Health Students. Through namely my time with SOAR, I have had access to the language that comes with diversity that I didn’t even know I needed until I learned it. On campus I feel most supported by the Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity—where the head of the department, Red, has served as a phenomenal mentor through my first year at Tulane and how to navigate that experience.

Shahamat Uddin
Roswell, Georgia
Shahamat Uddin

Major(s): Political Economy and Middle Eastern Studies
Minor(s): International Development and Gender & Sexuality

Being a student at Tulane has taught me about the importance of diversity. In any pursuit of good for all, diversity is extraordinarily important. When we have a diverse group of people we can really achieve the "all" part in the pursuit of good for all. There is no way for one individual to ever fully understand the complete experience of another. But engaging with one another is a good place to start. Understanding struggles beyond your own community and your own lifestyle is most easily achieved by engaging with those outside of it. Diversity can be travelling the whole world without leaving the room. When diversity is achieved I believe no one person is the odd one out. Diversity means including a broad spectrum of identities—ranging from socioeconomic to racial to religious—within a community that aims to represent the larger world. Tulane has taught me that adversity builds character. I have learned how to navigate communities where I am the minority and how to make the representation of the background that I come from manifest in one individual for many people to see.

New Orleans and Tulane are two sides of a penny, one side never really looking like the other. New Orleans has shown me what diversity and inclusion can accomplish. People in New Orleans come together at the hardest of times, from all walks of life, and that is when the city can witness the most success. My very first week at Tulane, I was able to march in one of the early Take Em' Down NOLA protests, aimed at removing Confederate statues from New Orleans’ public spaces. The group that marched spawned colors of the entire racial spectrum and marched with a unity unparalleled by any other city I had seen. The diversity in New Orleans breeds individuals who are worldly and readily interact with those who are different than them to achieve a better good for all.