California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Visible diversity should matter more to me, you and CLU

    Have you ever felt alone while standing in the middle of a huge crowd? Some people would thank the heavens for the chance to blend in, to become invisible or be alone altogether. I, for one, despise the notion.

    You shouldn’t rob the world of your uniqueness. I crave to be visible, to stand out for the right reasons and to leave a memorable mark on the world. No, this isn’t a valedictorian speech, but it is a call to action, if you will.

    California Lutheran University students should recognize that diversity is a valuable asset to their education here. They should be more visible participants in the organizations and events that celebrate their diversity and showcase their talents. 

    Now, I understand that the university’s mission statement allows for visible diversity on campus, but it’s hard to actually know what’s being done to achieve this. The clubs are transparent but aren’t as prominent as I would like them to be. This is especially true when numbers start to dwindle as far as club meetings are concerned. 

    Let me put things in perspective for you. At its core, college is the time for self-discovery and finding out where you belong in relation to the big, scary world. I deeply believe that Cal Lutheran provides a safe bubble where this mission should be less daunting.

    “University life is a time where you are exposed to some of the big meaningful questions of life, you dig deep. We interpret who we are, our core mission and our values to the outside community. We value the gifts of diversity and work together for the common good,” Melissa Maxwell-Doherty, vice president of mission and identity, said.

    Identity markers tap into an immediate connection with other people. We can get a sense of belonging, but at the same time, feel like our differences aren’t a burden. LGBTQ visibility, as associate professor of religion Peter Carlson would agree, is quite low on campus. However, he’s proud of the campus for the amazing strides of diversity that can unfortunately go unnoticed by prospective students.

    “Diversity is something that we don’t just say we value in our mission statement. One of the things that I’m most proud of is that I’m teaching Queer Theology. It’s been packed every semester I offer it. When the students see that in the catalog, that should say something,” Carlson said.

    In an effort to foster inclusive diversity, the office of mission and identity invited the entire community to participate in the daily Lenten Devotions that are sent through email to students. It’s no doubt that Christians on this campus responded with great enthusiasm, but more students of different faith traditions shouldn’t hold back either.

    A valuable alternative would be to schedule more club events during the weekend so students, both residents and commuters, have something to look forward to.

    To me, visible diversity can encompass everything that makes a human being valuable. It can be delicate but powerful at the same time. It craves validation and deserves to be celebrated.

    Growing up as a theatre kid, I learned that diversity helps an actor breathe life into a character. It’s what exposed me to other cultures, trains of thought and even my own uniqueness. Cal Lutheran has helped a lot in this respect.

    The nature of a liberal arts education demands diversity. Davidson College, a private liberal arts institution in North Carolina, took measures to increase LGBTQ visibility two years ago by attending national conferences. 

    According to their website, the results were gratifying because “each person is responsible for taking what they learned from one or two workshops and developing a way to implement it on campus.” Participation and engagement increased as well.

    Visible diversity requires an openness to understand and question the world around us, a privilege that is almost taken for granted. Visible diversity allows us to march to the beat of our own drum. How boring would the world be without millions of Hamlets and Juliets? There would be no color.

    Mario Granados
    Staff Writer
    Published March 16th, 2016