The lack of diversity at University of Wisconsin shouldn’t surprise people, but it should disturb them. As a white student at a predominantly white campus, I have a different perspective of the university than a student of color. The issue of diversity on campus makes me want to learn more about different cultures around the school, and Black History Month was a great opportunity to do so. Though February is over, it won’t be long until it comes around again and offers the chance for students to educate themselves more on black history.
There is a noticeable lack of diversity on the UW campus — as there is on most college campuses — which makes this topic even more important. Students are made aware of this from the second they start applying to colleges, realizing that schools long for students of color to make their campus more diverse. UW-Madison has a very low percentage of black students — hitting 2.26% of the population, with 68.5% of the students being white, which is an upsetting percentage to look at.
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This issue of diversity on college campuses is an ongoing problem that won’t go away in an instant, given all of the institutional influences. But it is possible to help minority students feel more comfortable receiving their education, and to educate all college students on the issues of diversity. While many students may have Black Lives Matter in their bio on Twitter or Instagram, that is not enough. UW does a great job making these opportunities available for students which is why people should take advantage of them. In order for students to learn more about Black History Month, and the educational experiences it offers, they should look at the university website, as it’s filled with information and resources on the topic.
On the website, there is an entire page dedicated to Black History Month and a long list of past and future events in celebration of it. These events aim to teach students and people in the community about the history of African Americans in our country and in the world. There are activities of all different kinds, focusing on and analyzing different aspects of black history. Some of these events include, but are not limited to, a black student and alumni networking night, “Black History Month: A Look Into the World of ‘Pose,’ Art Spin! A Celebration of Black History Month,” and many more. These are all incredible events to attend in order to learn more about America’s history from a new perspective.
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Information regarding the month of February and black history is published on the UW website, but most students won’t go looking to the website for Black History Month information unless they are notified of it somehow. So consider this an announcement — people should tell their friends, their clubs, their classmates and professors about Black History Month and what this campus has to offer in celebrating it. UW-Madison has made an active effort to create these events and we should all look forward to being supportive by showing up at these community events next year!
Elizabeth Ellick ([email protected]) is a sophomore intending to major in political science.