Many universities strive to have diversity on campus to express a global awareness. Wilkes is no exception to the rule.
On the university’s website, Wilkes states that diversity is one of the core values that the campus is built upon.
On campus there is an Office of Diversity Initiatives, who serves students, faculty, and staff from underrepresented groups to develop a nurturing and empowering support system at Wilkes University. There are three focus areas of the ODI; diversity student services, diversity education and programming. All areas are designed to foster appreciation for difference in the classroom and the community.
Wilkes’ Center for Global Education and Diversity is home to ODI. The building located on Franklin and S. River is designed to help prepare students for the global job market.
The center for Global Education and Diversity offers students the knowledge and understanding to communication with cross-cultural backgrounds and nationalities.
To celebrate Black History month, on March 22 ODI held a bus to trip to Harlem to the Cotton Club to listen to jazz music.
Not only is the student population diverse with students from all different backgrounds and many international students, but so is the teaching staff.
“I definitely felt welcomed from the very first day,” Dr. Andreea Maierean, visiting assistant professor of political science said. “Faculty tries to help and students are very positive towards me.”
Dr. Maierean is a native of Romania.
One weekly way to give students an opportunity to learn about different cultures is the Global Coffee Hour. On Wednesday afternoon people from all over Wilkes campus and the community get together to have conversation with an international spin.
“I believe that Wilkes embraces diversity on campus. I think we do a great job of getting students from all different type of backgrounds to get involved,” Jaleel Sterking, Multicultural Student Coalition president said. “We always have to keep in mind that there is more work that can be done.”
As student ran groups are concern, Wilkes is house to the Multicultural Student Coalition (MSC). This group of students aims to spread diversity on campus and the surrounding community.
“MSC tries to promote diversity through having events that are fun.” Sterling adds. “We just recently had our 2nd annual One World Party which involves food from different cultures and students performing a dance or even talking about their culture. The event was very successful; we had over about 200 people at the event.”
MSC is known to host the talent show along with other events on campus. They have a free a trip to Philly coming up along with an event that will team up with the Asian Club.
Other student groups that educate about diversity is the Indian Cultural Association. ICA in October celebrates Diwali, the celebration of the triumph of good over evil.
Also in October Wilkes holds Family Heritage Day. This day was created for students, faculty and staff to have opportunities to celebrate heritages and share typical cuisine with the community. Many groups had tables at the event with food, memorabilia and relics of their culture, some including Polish, African-American, Indian, Chinese, Greek and Pennsylvania Dutch.
Wilkes has a Safe Space program on campus that aims to give a helpful environment to students that are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and questioning community by identifying a supportive faculty member or student group that is willing to listen about LGBTQ issues. Student sessions are held throughout the year, the last one was on March 18.
Wilkes offers a variety of options for students to participation in programs, which inspire racial, ethnic, or cultural understanding, awareness, and appreciation.