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Why College Diversity Is Important
By Diversity Speaker Clint Cora

According to the US Census, almost one-fifth of the entire population over age five in America speak a language other than English when at home.  The same statistic skyrockets to about fifty percent in the Miami area alone.  These figures suggest that diversity is becoming a very important aspect of our society.

Another interesting example of diversity is that there’s an estimation of about 170 different languages spoken on the streets of New York City.  In fact as a result, New York City mayor Bloomberg ordered one hundred city agencies to start providing services in six foreign languages in addition to English.  These additional languages are Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Russian.  

So the reality of today’s environment in North America is that ethnic and cultural diversity is here to stay.  Whether it’s inside offices, factories or outside with customers, we will likely encounter more people from different cultures than ever before.

Colleges and universities in North America are also getting more diverse student populations.  Not only have many foreign students have been choosing to attend North American schools for their higher education, US-born visible minorities who were children of immigrants from around the world are also making it onto campuses now further contributing to college diversity.  

With the additional influx of students from the Native American and African American communities as well, the campus scene is certainly very different from what is looked like a generation or two ago.

But college diversity is not just about differences in race or culture.  Americans from the west coast, east coast, mid-west and the south, all have some interesting regional differences.  These can also be found on campuses and does represent a form of diversity as well. 

With so much diversity on campus these days, colleges need to know how to manage this in order to ensure that diversity becomes a positive rather than a negative experience for students and staff.  In fact, arming college students with some skills in the form of diversity education will definitely help them function better in their future careers given today’s diverse working world.

Colleges and universities are also businesses.  The ones that can effectively target foreign students will become popular institutions of choice from this overseas market.
Companies that ignore the need for both market and workplace diversity training will soon lose out in the modern business world of today.  Forward thinking companies will recruit and retain the best overall talent.  These organizations will also be able to target diverse markets effectively.  But companies need people who are well versed with diversity skills to make this happen.

Unfortunately, diversity skills are not usually part of the standard educational curriculums at colleges and universities.  However, this represents a huge opportunity for campus activities programmers to help supplement these essential diversity skills for students.  Cultural events can be organized where students and staff learn more about different cultures, especially if they are already represented in the student body or staff on campus.  

Outside speakers who speak on diversity topics can also be brought in to help students and staff develop diversity skills.  These skills will help both students and staff function more effectively in diverse environments.  This is why college diversity is so important these days.  Here is a short video on college diversity programs.

To possibly book me as a diversity speaker as part of campus activities programming at your college, see my Speaking Programs for Colleges.

 

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