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Diversity: Student Perspectives

Ivanka Reksono
Valley Stream, New York
Ivanka Reksono

Major(s): Gender and Sexuality Studies

Tulane has taught me the importance of  diversity in community building. The clubs and organizations I am involved in have helped me realize the importance of the expression of individuals. I am president of the Asian American Student Union, President of Gamma Rho Lambda, I'm on the Presidential Commission on Race and Tulane Values, and was Co-Director of Diversity & Inclusive Excellence of the Undergraduate Student Government. I also produced Hers, Theirs, Ours my sophomore year. Tulane has given me the ability to collaborate and value the experiences of others. It has taught me to attempt to meet people where they are at and challenge my own experiences and lack of consciousness, in order to become more aware of systemic oppression and the needs of others.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs, has supported me since my freshman year at Tulane. The Office has helped me realize I'm not alone and I have a community on this campus. The staff of the O are supportive individuals who have helped me make connections to other students of color and queer students at Tulane. The O has given me hope Tulane can become more inclusive via the programming and steps taken to challenge campus climate. The experiences and connections I have made at Tulane have helped me become hopeful for the future. I now want to have a career that focuses on social development! Sometimes it does not feel feasible, but we still need to be hopeful and work as catalysts of change. My experiences with diversity will shape my future after Tulane because my goals and intentions will be linked towards inclusivity and compassion.

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. 

Sydney Monix
New Orleans, LA
Sydney Monix

Major(s): Neuroscience and Communications
Minor(s): Psychology

Being a student at Tulane has helped me become aware of the issues surrounding diversity that can occur in certain environments, particularly when one realizes that they are a part of the minority. My experiences with diversity at Tulane have made me much more aware of the value of the human experience. No two people are the same; people come in many shapes and flavors that make them who they are and how they navigate the world around them. Being aware of the diversity of our world has made me much more conscientious of those around me. People grow and develop their own opinions and understandings by being in an environment that places them out of their comfort zone. Being stuck in a homogeneous environment does not foster growth nor challenge people to see the world that is bigger than themselves.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Gender and Sexuality (The “O”) has supported me by providing a safe space and collections of people that are open-minded and willing want to expand their understanding of what they are either not accustomed to or unfamiliar with. The staff at The O has accepted me and my experiences with open arms and I know they are always there whenever I need someone to call, even outside business hours!

William Smith
Baton Rouge, LA
William Smith

Major(s): Neuroscience and Sociology

I am part of the black, public service, and social justice communities that exist on campus. I am involved with the Office of Multicultural Affairs as a peer mentor, resident advisor (RA), and serve as a member of the Multicultural Council, Black Student Union (BSU), and Students Organizing Against Racism (SOAR). The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) and the Center for Public Service have been a great support to me during my time at Tulane. Specifically, OMA has been supportive in the initiatives, programs, and ideas that student organizations want to put on and has served as a place of support during times of crisis.

Being a student at Tulane has taught me that diversity does not have to only be used when referring to race. There is also geographic, class, and a number of other ways that the term can be applied. Also, there is always something to be learned from everyone. After leaving Tulane, I think that I will definitely be more willing to learn from anyone because I have had the opportunity to listen and learn from the various backgrounds that exist on campus.